Never use store-bought stock again
Makes 2-1/2 quarts
1 large Ziploc bag full of vegetable scraps
Optional: any herbs
Optional: leftover chicken bones, ham hock, beef scraps, etc.
I haven't used store-bought stock in decades, and after trying out this recipe, you'll wonder why you are.
Take a week or two to stock up on vegetable scraps: onion trimmings, pepper stems n seeds, carrot shavings, potato odds n ends, zucchini ends, fennel core, really anything. Stay away from cruciferous, though, such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts or cabbage--just a terrible smell and odd flavor. Lettuce-y vegetables too, just don't do it. Otherwise, store all the vegetable scraps in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer until you have a bagful. If you have any meat scraps too, even better: if I'm trimming the fat off a raw roast, the ham hock from Thanksgiving, whole chicken carcasses. Once you have a good amount, place everything (still frozen) in a large-sized crockpot. You can certainly use a standard-sized crockpot it just won't make as much. If you have extras on hand, throw them in at that point: some unpeeled garlic, leftover herbs such as thyme or parsley, a few bay leaves, some peppercorns, some dried Chile de arbol. Fill to the brim with water, cover, and crock on.low for 48hrs. You MUST top off the water 24hrs in, it cooks down a lot so if you don't it won't produce as much end product. After 48hrs, turn off the heat and let it cool an hour in the pot. Use a slotted spoon to remove large pieces (discard). Place a fine-mesh sieve over your storage container and pour in a ladleful at a time. Freeze immediately. Defrost overnight or in microwave for use.
Note: The flavor is amazing when we use leftover smoked meat scraps. My husband smoked a turkey for Christmas and using its carcass made the aroma and nuance of the stock mouthwatering.
Note: I don't salt my stock, but it's up to you. You never know how much salt is already going to be in the dish you use the stock for; you can always add salt but not take it away.
Note: I highly recommend freezing in smaller containers. I use 2-cup Tupperware and if I need to use some I'll just defrost it the night before instead of having to chisel it out from a giant amount.
Oh you must! Lasts 6-12months.