What is stock?

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Stock is a flavorful liquid made from simmering a large pot of bones, shells, vegetables and/or other ingredients on the stove until they give up their flavors and (in the case of bone stocks) gelatin.  Never served by itself, it is instead one of a chef’s most important flavor boosting tools and an essential building block in the fine dining kitchen. 

Particularly when it comes to French cooking, you can’t have good sauces or soups without good stock.  Many top restaurants still make their own stocks from scratch, although it is becoming more common for them to buy products like high quality pre-made veal demi-glace that can be reconstituted into stock. 

Stock is an excellent way to make use of the bones left over from whole poultrywhole fish and leftover shells of prawns and crabsVeal bones are used to make veal stock.  Stock can also be made purely from vegetables, for a vegetarian/vegan option.

Of course, you could buy broth in the store, but that’s not the same thing as stock.  And though they’re now selling pre-made stocks in more and more grocery stores, they’re not only expensive, but usually include a high amount of salt in order to make them shelf-stable.

Stock making is a proud tradition of culinary frugality that is still (until good fresh or frozen stocks become more widely available) best done yourself.  Though it’s surprisingly easy, it can take a fair amount of time (unless you’re making veggie stock or dashi). 

If you’re planning on making stock for the first time (or have had trouble with homemade stock in the past), we recommend you first read The Cardinal Rules of Stock Making for tips that will help ensure quality, safety, and success.

Stock Making Recipes:
How to Make Chicken Stock
How to Make Dark Duck Stock
How to Make Dashi
How to Make Fish Fumet
How to Make Fish Stock
How to Make Veal Demi Glace
How to Make Veal Stock
How to Make Vegetable Stock

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