I probably should have started this ‘Back to basics’ on the blog a little earlier. I guess better late than never. haha! I started with this recipe because it comes at the top of the ‘basic recipes’ list in my kitchen. It is something I enjoy making from scratch on a regular basis. Not having beef, vegetable or chicken stock on hand in my freezer is something extremely irritating to me, and having plenty of it is something that makes me feel kind of complete, if you like. I’m used to having this quick bomb of flavours ready to go in my meals at any desired time, trust me it makes a huuuge difference in taste.
Some people might think that I’m very old school, because who has the time nowadays to make stocks from scratch? Stocks are all over supermarket shelves, and are probably cheaper and easier to get, and they also keep in the pantry for a long time. I agree on the cheaper and easier part, but keeping them on a shelf for that long is what always concerns me. I don’t know about you, but I like to know what goes into my food. They might claim these packaged stocks as being ‘organic’ or ‘real’, but if you look at the back of the package, where all the ingredients are listed, there are usually a whole lot of ingredients far from “real”. Another reason is that I like my kids to grow up seeing how food is made from scratch and appreciate it. It is something that they will never understand, unless they experience it themselves.
I can assure you that these recipes are so easy to follow and that they will save you time and effort in the long run, plus they will take your cooking to a whole new level, because you will be making magic with real delicious ingredients.
Now, here is a simple recipe for how to make stock out of bones. Weather it’s chicken or beef bones, the recipe is pretty much the same.
Using fennel stalks is not something I do every time, I only add it if I happen to have some in the fridge, so don’t feel the need to drive all the way to the shops to buy fennel if you don’t already have some.
Celery, carrots and onions are a must though. They add so much flavour to any kind of stock as you probably already know. I like to rinse my meat bones thoroughly before adding them to the pan and I also like to buy the bones with no fat or much meat attached to them.
As part of my preparation for Ramadan (the month of fasting), which is starting in about two weeks from now, I made a little extra of this beef broth yesterday and froze it in small zip-lock freezer bags and ice-cube trays. Food gatherings are a big part of Ramadan and I always like to be prepared. One thing I’m not so prepared for, is missing out on my morning coffee because of fasting, I’m freaking out!!
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 4 celery stalks with leafy ends
- 2 large brown onions, cut in quarters
- 1 fennel stalk with fronds attached (optional)
- 4-5 cardamom pods
- 5 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon pepper corns
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 flat tablespoon natural sea salt
- 1 kg of beef or chicken bones (for beef I like to use chuck bones)
- 12 cups of cold filtered water, or enough to cover the bones.
- Place all ingredients in a deep stock pot. (I always keep one pot to use only in making stocks)
- Cover with a lid and put on medium-high heat until it starts boiling.
- Boil for 2-3 minutes, then lower the heat to simmer gently.
- Using a metal spoon, gently start skimming off any scum or foam forming on the surface of the liquid.(do your best).
- Keep the liquid at a gentle simmer for 6 hours (you can use a slow cooker if you prefer).
- Allow to cool slightly before straining.
- Strain.Discard the solids and leave the clear broth on the side until it cools down completely.
- Use immediately in your meal, or keep in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days.
- keep your broth in a bowl in the fridge over night,
- skim off any solid fat that has formed on the surface the following morning (easier to remove while it's cold),
- stir gently, then spoon broth in single (1cup) portions in zip-lock bags or in smaller portions using ice-cubes trays with lids.
- Always write down what you are freezing and the date it was frozen on the zip-lock bag or on the container, as you will forget.
- Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.