This stock is one of the easiest stocks to make and takes anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes to cook.
- 1 gallon cold water plus about 32 fl oz
- 3 lb mirepoix, large-dice (ratio is always 2:1:1/onion:carrot:celery)
- 3 lb nonstarchy vegetables (leeks, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, parsnips, etc..)
- 2 tsp salt (I use coarse sea salt)
- 1 Sachet d’épices
- Place a large rondeau (wide, fairly shallow pan with two handles) over medium high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water in pan to ensure it’s hot before adding the vegetables.
- Once pan is hot, add the onion first. Let them cook for a few minutes, you will notice that they start to sweat, but don’t let them caramelize. Once this happens turn the heat down to medium and add the carrots and celery.
- At this point it is more of a preference of the chef as to how long you let the vegetables sweat. I usually let them cook for about 8 minutes or so (this is one reason I don’t let the onions caramelize because they run the risk of burning and adds that burnt taste to the stock).
- Once the vegetables have been sweated, add the cold water, salt and Sachet d’épices. Reduce the heat to low heat and cook for about 40 minutes. If you are adding any other vegetables or vegetable trimmings, to include skins, then you may add them at this time. Depending on what type of flavor you are trying to achieve or the dish you are making be sure to understand that different vegetables will change the profile of the stock and may not go well with everything.
- Be cautious as the stock begins to cook down; this is why I add a little extra, usually about 1 1/2 cups, cold water. Also, by having the extra water will give you right around 1 gallon of stock.
- For best results, do not cover and stir occasionally. There is a term used called depouillage. This is the method of skimming the impurities from the surface of the stock as it boils. The impurities are very noticeable as it becomes that frothy, foaming like substance that gathers at the top. Take a slotted spoon to depouillage and discard the impurities. This is essential to having a good quality stock.
- After the stock is done cooking, remove from heat and strain the stock. The best piece of equipment to use is a chinois, also know as a ‘china cap’. Begin the cooling process or if you may use it right away.
*Safe methods for cooling:
- Ice-water bath – easy and commonly used method. Divide food into smaller containers, then place containers in a sink or large pot filled with ice water, stirring the stock to cool more evenly and faster.
- Ice paddle – Plastic ice paddles are a great and easy way to cool stock. They can be filled with ice or filled with water and then frozen, if you have a big enough freezer
Please read my Techniques and Methods page for more information on the proper cooling methods.
*NOTE: Once the stock has been completely cooled another useful way you can store and use stocks are in the form of ice cubes. This allows you to use small amounts at a time and are very convenient for single use; not every recipe is going to be made for a large group. Cheap plastic ice trays are perfect for this. I usually freeze multiple trays then, once frozen, I transfer them to a container so that I can properly date them. You may either transfer them to another container or you may simply leave them in the ice trays and place the trays in a plastic zipper top bag. Just be sure to remove as much air as possible before placing in the freezer.