Friday, November 5, 2010

Homemade Stocks

When preparing vegetables for everyday dishes, don’t throw away the trimmings. Woody stalks, onion skins, carrot ends all add wonderful flavours to a stock base. Pop the trimmings in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until you have enough to boil up for a stock or soup.

• When you are preparing a meal, save any meat trimmings, including bones, or bits of fat that still have meat attached. While cooking the meal at hand, place the meat trimmings in a saucepan of water and boil. Add leftover vegetable trimmings from the freezer, and continue boiling gently for as long as possible.

• Remove from heat, cool for a short while, and then pour the hot stock liquid through a sieve, and into a glass container. Seal with a lid, and then cool on bench until suitable temperature for freezing.

• The stock is now fully prepared. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and form a distinct layer that can easily be removed before use. You will be left with a full flavoured, low-fat stock that can quickly and easily be defrosted for use in any meal.

• Try boiling up the ham bone after Christmas and use the ham stock in spaghetti Bolognese or lasagne dishes.

• To make a lovely seafood udon style soup, buy green prawns, boil gently until cooked. Remove prawns, peel, and store. Return the prawn heads and shells to the water, add vegetable trimmings, and spices. Boil stock for immediate use, or prepare and freeze for later.

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