Make your own stock
Sometimes a stock cube just won’t do. For a rich depth of flavour, have a go at making stock yourself with easy recipes for fresh chicken, beef and vegetable broth.
Not only is homemade stock tastier than a stock cube, it’s usually much healthier, with less salt and no artificial ingredients. Homemade stock is perfect for soups, stews, sauces and gravies. It’s also a great replacement for boiling water when cooking grains like rice, couscous and polenta.
So, how about leaving the bouillon cube in the cupboard this evening and trying these delicious DIY stock recipes instead?
As the name suggests, the key to good veggie stock is a lot of tasty vegetables. This recipe from The Kitchn lists onion, carrots and celery as must-haves for a delicious vegetable stock. It then includes a list of optional extras: leeks, tomatoes, mushrooms, mushroom stems and parsnips. Cover the washed and chopped vegetables with water in a large soup pot and leave to simmer—it’s that simple!
As for herbs and spices, thyme, bay leaf, bunch parsley and peppercorns will provide that comforting, savoury flavour you’re looking for, with just the right amount of heat. Adding some fresh fennel is also a great way to infuse one more surprising layer of flavour to the mix.
Top tip: Roast your vegetables before adding them to the water for a more flavourful stock.
Whether you’re making classic chicken noodle soup, fluffy couscous or a savoury chicken pie, going the extra mile to make your own stock will pay off in loads of fantastic flavour. Although it’s common practice to use the leftovers from a Sunday roast as a stock base, Jamie Oliver recommends using raw chicken (legs, wings or chopped) for a nice, clean taste.
Combine this will chopped onion, garlic, celery, leeks and carrots in a large pot. Add bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, thyme and whole peppercorns before covering with water, bringing to a boil and then allowing to simmer for 3-4 hours.
Top tip: Use a large spoon or ladle to “skim” the stock as it boils and simmers.
Delicious beef stock features much of the same herbs and veggies as vegetable and chicken stock. As this BBC Good Food recipe indicates, leeks, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, parsley and thyme will all complement the beef flavour well.
Start by roasting beef rib or leg marrowbones together with chopped onion, garlic and half an inch of water in a shallow tray. Roasting the bones for 40 minutes (topping up the water when necessary) is key to extracting lots of rich flavour. Then, it’s as simple as adding the roasted bones to a pot of boiling water, together with the other chopped vegetables and herbs. The longer you allow the mixture to simmer, the more flavourful your stock. Aim for 4-6 hours.
Top tip: Strain your stock through cheesecloth to achieve the perfect, clean texture.
Have you ever tried making your own stock?