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Friday, 18 November 2016

Soup Stock: from the Sugar and Salt and Soup - Oh my! workshop

If you missed our recent workshop, this post will catch you up, and if you were there we’ll add some details here you may find useful too.

At the workshop

The attendees agreed in a blind taste test that the homemade stocks were better tasting than the store bought. Karen led them through an analysis of pre-made stocks and broths, looking at nutritional information and added ingredients.

As you can see from the information above, many of these products contain unnecessary ingredients that do not increase either the taste or nutritional content. When you make your own, you can control what goes into your food.

Let's go over the basics...

What is Stock or Broth?

Stocks and broths are the first step in making a soup. While the names are often used are interchangeable, Stock is generally made using bones, whereas Broth can be made with vegetables alone or include meat. The flavour will be different with a stock due to the nutrients and gelatin released from the bones used. 

For the purposes of this article however, we’ll use the term “Stock” as we focus on bone-based versions, though some of our links may say broth when referring to stock. 

What are the benefits of Stock? 

Stock made with bones will contain gelatin and other nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. Stock isn’t a whole meal however. With very few or no carbs, and incomplete proteins, stock cannot provide all the nutrients you need. 

Stock can:
    • help you stay hydrated
    • make you feel more full
    • satiate cravings and fill you up with little added calories, which can help with weight loss
    • provide a flavourful base for a full meal when you add protein and vegetables
    • give you some necessary nutrients
    • be a convenient flavour booster in many recipes
    • help you make the most of your leftovers, saving you money

How do I make stock? Is it hard?

Here’s how Karen makes her basic chicken stock. You’ll need the skin and bones from a chicken that's been previously roasted. Make sure to leave some meat on the bones, wings, back, etc

Cooking the stock:
    • In a pot on your stovetop: Put your ingredients in a pot and add enough water to cover the them. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a gentle boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes or as long as 4 hours, depending on your flavour preference. The longer it cooks the stronger the flavour will be.
    • In a slow cooker: Put your ingredients into the slow cooker, adding enough water to cover the them. Cook the ingredients on low heat for at least 8 hours or as long as 24 hours.
    • In a stove top pressure cooker: Put your ingredients in a pot and add enough water to cover them. Lock the lid in place and raise the heat to high. Bring the pot up to full pressure. This may take about 15 minutes. When your pot indicates that it's at full pressure, lower the heat to maintain pressure and start timing. Cook for 45 minutes.
    • In an electric pressure cooker: This can be safer than on the stove top because it will automatically bring up the pressure and turn off when it is done. They cost $59 to $200. Put your ingredients into the cooker and add enough water to cover them. It will take 1 hour to 3 hours to cook depending on the model of your pressure cooker.
    • In a Tupperware microwave pressure cooker: Put your ingredients in and fill to the max line.  do not over fill. Lock the lid of your pressure cooker in place and cook in the microwave on high for 30 minutes. When done, let it sit for 15 minutes to let the pressure naturally release. This is Karen’s favourite method as it’s both fast and easy. You can purchase the Tupperware pressure cooker from Karen for $179.
Keep in mind, that the longer you cook it, the stronger the flavour the stock will be.

Once the stock has been cooked, place a strainer in a large bowl and pour the stock and bones into it. Throw out the bones and any other pieces, then place the stock in the fridge to cool. This will allow the fat to rise to the surface and harden for removal. 

If you’d rather not wait, you can use one of the following methods:
    • a fat separator cup 
    • a ladle - to scoop the fat from the top of the stock as it sits
    • a ziploc bag - in this method, pour the room temperature broth into a ziploc bag. Seal the bag and let the fat rise to the top. Over a bowl, snip a small opening in the bottom corner of the bag and allow the broth to escape. Keep a close eye on it so that you can turn the bag or pinch it shut before the fat reaches the opening.

How do I store and use stock? 

You can freeze cooled stock in ice cube trays, ziploc bags, or freezer containers. 

Stock can be a comforting warm drink on a cold day, add flavour to your vegetables, and a flavourful base for gravies or soup.

Check our recipes for ideas on how to use stock to make your own flavourful dishes and soups.

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