I’m not sure why it took me so long to start making my own stocks, but now that I have there is no going back to canned versions. Whether it’s chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, plenty of recipes call for this basic staple. Unfortunately you usually only have a choice between your-whole-day’s-sodium-content-in-one-cup broth, or very bland low-sodium versions. But, with a very simply basic recipe you can easily craft natural broths at home. They taste so much better than store bought (so much so that I usually end up slurping up several spoonfuls), are made with whole foods you can pronounce, and require very little added salt for flavor, making them much healthier than most you find on grocery shelves.
I usually make a big batch and freeze it in 2 cup portions. That way, I can simply pull out when a recipe calls for broth/stock and I’m good to go. Your basic recipe for any flavor stock is below. If you are doing a vegetable version, simply double or triple the amount of vegetables, omit the meat, and follow the same.
- Bones (ham, beef, chicken) – if you can’t get to them in a day or so, you can wrap in foil and freeze until you get a chance to make the stock
- Vegetables – 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 onion (chopped into large pieces)
- Seasoning – parsley sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns, a splash of wine (optional)
Add these 3 basic components to a large pot and fill with 3 quarts water. Simmer slowly for about 2 hours. Toward the end of cook time, taste and add salt if needed, 1 tsp. at a time. Let cool and strain, discarding the solids. The stock lasts about 1 week in the fridge or frozen up to 1 year.