The foundation of flavor building, stocks are the essence of our foods, in nutrition and flavor – they are also a means for you to capture flavor and nutrition from every scrap of food, which is very thrifty. Where stocks are less thrifty: the amount of energy you need to cook them. Stocks cook on low temperature for a long time. To make a stock you need a certain amount of food for a certain amount of water and your aim is to infuse the flavor and nutrients of those foods into the water. You’ve just butchered a chicken; put the carcass in a medium pot, add one large peeled onion, two large peeled carrots, three pieces of celery, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a few pepper corns, a pinch of salt, and cover it all with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-5 hours, very very gently.
For a vegetable stock, you don’t just turn your pot into a garbage can or compost bucket, you need to choose suitable vegetables: onion, carrot, celery or celery root, red pepper, leeks, fennel, maybe a green apple, turnips…You don’t want vegetables that break down easily like potatoes and yams and squash. Again place the washed peeled and chopped vegetables in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and drop the temperature to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.
If you have bones from red meat animals--beef, lamb--or, if you want a roasted flavor for a chicken or pork stock: Roast the bones first, very slowly so that they are dark brown, totally caramelized and rich in flavor. Drain the fat – and save it for later cooking – and now roast the typical stock-oriented vegetables (carrots, onion, and celery – called mire pois) in the same roasting pan. When everything is caramelized it goes into a pot, is topped with water and brought to a boil, then simmered for 5-7 hours. I do not recommend you make a large beef, veal or lamb stock, since it is very energy inefficient and costly – not thrifty. If you really want to use these bones, put them into soups and extract the flavor and nutrients that way.
Mire Pois (2 onion, 1 carrot, one celery stock)
Meat (one chicken, one duck, 5 lbs veal knuckles, or 5 lbs lamb knuckles)
Oh, but wait, fish stock! Fish stock is exceptionally thrifty and extremely healthy. If you like fish you need to make fish stock. If you don’t like fish, you could be lacking the oils and nutrition that’s necessary for proper brain function. The best fish stock will take 50 minutes to make. Buy or catch a white fish or a salmon, butcher it, skin it, and save the carcass. Cut the carcass into 4 inch squared pieces. Cut 1 cup each of fennel, onion, carrot, and celery brunoise. Roughly chop one tomato. Sweat the vegetable brunoise on medium heat in 2 tbs of olive oil. Cook them until they’re soft. Add the fish pieces and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until you can begin to smell the aroma of fresh fish. Add the tomato and pour in 2 cups of white wine, bring to a boil, and then reduce the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 4 liters of water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, then strain and cool off the liquid before placing it in the fridge.
Freeze the stock in ½ liter yogurt containers. When the stock is frozen, remove the puck shaped pieces of ice and wrap in plastic and place neatly in the freezer.
When needed, remove one ‘puck’ and use it to make soups or sauces, or for poaching meats or fish; healthy and tasty.