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Homemade vs. Store-Bought

February 26, 2007

It should be a no-brainer, yet, most of us don’t even think about it.  And it’s so simple.  Even I just started to make my own.  Because not only is it easy, it is such a cost effective way of using ingredients that you usually already have lying around, or better yet, about to go bad.  What am I talking about?  Stock, of course.  That is…chicken, vegetable, beef, fish.  Whatever your fancy.

So, what is the difference between homemade stock and broth purchased from your local grocery store?  Mainly taste.  Broth is made using the actual meat, whereas stock is made mostly from the bony parts – yielding a more flavorful and rich taste.  You can always enhance your store-bought broth by adding the ingredients that are present in stock, but why bother when the whole process of making your own stock is so simple.  And in making your own, you have complete control over how much sodium and other flavors you would like.   

If all of that isn’t convincing enough…there is more.  When buying chicken, save money by choosing the whole chicken or breast with the bone, debone it yourself (if necessary), and freeze the bones – cooked or uncooked.  You can also freeze the skin that you have trimmed away.  These bones (and skin) are going to be your substance for your stock.  Therefore, you have not only saved money, but now you have not wasted anything either.  The same goes for vegetables, any pieces that you have that you are not going to use or are about to go to waste, place in the freezer.  For example, stems of mushrooms, peppers, celery, leeks, tomatoes.  Whatever you would like.  Just remember that some vegetables have a very distinct flavor, such as, broccoli and cauliflower.  Plus, your homemade version is going to yield about 4 times as much as store-bought!

When you see your freezer starting to overflow (like mine) with all of these pieces and parts or if you’re ready to just give it a go, then it’s time to toss all of this stuff in a pot and let it cook.  It really is that easy.
Chicken Stock
INGREDIENTS:

3-5 lbs. Chicken bones (and skin)                                                             
1 – 2 Large onion, peeled and quartered           
2 – 3 Carrots, broken into large pieces               
2 – 3 Celery stalks, broken into large pieces     
2 – 3 Garlic cloves, whole (optional)                   
2 Bay leaves, whole                                        
Parsley, fresh or dried
Thyme, fresh or dried
12 – 15 Whole black peppercorn                            
2 -3 T Salt (optional)                                              

NOTE:  The amounts of each of these ingredients are not precise, just guidelines.  Please feel free to alter any of them, as well as, change or add herbs that you like.  (Just a reminder:  always use LESS of dried herbs, than fresh herbs).

Place all of the above ingredients in a large 8-qt (or larger) stock pot/dutch oven.  Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum (impurities) from the top.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 – 4 hours.  Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and discard solids.  Cool stock in a container in an ice water bath for about 30 – 45 minutes.  Refrigerate.  The fat can easily be skimmed off of the top.

The stock will keep in the refrigerator for about one week or can be placed in the freezer for several months.  After freezing, just simmer it for about 10 minutes before using.

Now you’re ready to use this in place of your store-bought broth.  I have found myself replacing water for stock when cooking couscous, barley, quinoa and anything else that needs just a little more body and flavor.

And, of course, this can be made entirely with vegetables.  Simply replace the chicken bones with different pieces of vegetables.  I use mushroom stems (which I save and freeze), and pieces of pepper (that may not be in the best shape for eating).  But like I said earlier, you can use anything your little heart desires.  Experiment, create and have fun!

Good Luck!  Let me know how it turns out or if you have any questions.    

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Emeril permalink
    February 26, 2007 12:17 am

    Judy?

  2. February 26, 2007 4:28 pm

    Emeril…wait, I mean Elaine…wait…who are you? seriously…why all the aliases? I almost thought it was a spammer, girlie! Maybe I am turning in to Judy!

  3. mccoy permalink
    February 27, 2007 8:41 pm

    i have no idea what you are talking about on this one but it sounds tasty

  4. Vanessa permalink
    February 28, 2007 12:10 am

    girl, i always make my own stock, store brought broth= box of salt water.

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