Making Stock

This is an all-important cooking liquid which is used as the basis for soups, casseroles and sauces. It should be well flavoured but be complimentary to the ingredients of the finished dish.Vegetables with strong flavours, such as parsnips, should be used sparingly.

Fresh bones and those left over from joints can be used, together with vegetable trimmings. Add extra vegetables, herbs and possibly wine or another liquid for extra flavour and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer. Brown stock or game stock takes about 3 hours; fish and vegetable stock only 30 minutes. Do not cook fish stock for longer or it acquires a nasty sticky taste from the bones. Be careful with fish bones that are strongly flavoured.

Strain cooked stock, leave to cool and skim. Use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reboil before use.

Brown stock Makes 1.8 litres (3 pt).

225 g (8 oz) marrow bones 450-675 g (1-1 ½ lb) shin of beef (roughly chopped) 20 g (¾ oz) dripping or oil 1 leek (cleaned) 1 onion (peeled and chopped) 100-125 g (4 oz) carrots Bouquet garni Salt and pepper

Cover the bones with water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7. Drain the bones, then put into a roasting pan with the beef and dripping (or oil).

Brown for about 30 minutes, turning from time to time. Put the roasted bones and beef in a heavy-based pan; cover with cold water and add the prepared vegetables and seasoning. Bring to the boil. Skim scum from the surface and cover, then simmer for about 3 hours, adding additional water if required. Strain, cool, and remove the fat. Add extra seasoning to taste.

White stock Use veal bones and add vegetables, herbs, seasoning and water. Bring to the boil, then simmer, remove scum and strain.

Fish stock Makes 575-600 ml (1 pt).

450 g (1 lb) fish bones and trimmings (head and skin)

1 onion (peeled and chopped) Salt and pepper

Bouquet garni

Wash the fish trimmings and bring to the boil with 575– 600 ml (1 pt) of water. Remove scum and add chopped onion, seasoning and bouquet garni. Cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes on a low heat. Strain and use immediately.

Game stock Use a carcass and cleaned giblets and cook as for white stock, simmering for 2-3 hours. Strain and remove the fat before use. Ideal for making use of chicken and turkey carcasses.

Vegetable stock Made by using a variety of chopped vegetables: cabbage, lettuce outer leaves, and clean peelings from carrots and parsnips with added seasoning. Simmer and strain through a sieve lined with a piece of muslin before use.

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