Stock, sometimes also known as bone broth, is an old-fashioned savory cooking fluid that forms the basis of numerous popular dishes, especially stews, soups, and sauces. Although the stock has long been associated with eastern cuisines (particularly the Chinese and Japanese varieties), it's actually a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of cuisines, from western to eastern. It's often used as a base for other ingredients, such as meat or fish stock. In this article, we'll examine the various ways in stock can be used, as well as why it's an ingredient worth looking into.
Stock is usually prepared by simmering meat, seafood, or even plants in water or broth for a certain length of time, usually an hour or more. The liquid usually comes from a stock pot, and its name stems from the fact that it was originally a portable storage for meals cooked in the same container. Today, it's often included in a number of standard kitchen appliances, especially cookware due to its capacity to retain and store heat. For instance, a stock pot is often used to cook a roast or some other sort of stew, and there are many reasons why this is the case: because it keeps the food hotter longer, because of its heat-retaining properties, and because it can serve as a base for additional ingredients, especially when it comes to stews or soups.
It's also widely used as a cooking medium for a variety of soups and sauces. In fact, one of the most popular ways to prepare stock is through the addition of vegetables to the mix. Adding carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken bones, and even whole milk can increase the thickness of the finished soup or stew, which helps it retain some of its nutrients even when served cold. As a result, the popularity of adding vegetables to soups has increased greatly over the years, whether it's for sipping or for cooking. Other types of proteins can be added, too, to help increase the nutrients in the mixture - beef bones and pork bones are especially popular.
The way it's used in the kitchen can lead people to assume it's only for use in cooking. But this couldn't be further from the truth: bone broth can also be used as a dip to increase the richness of chicken, beef, or pork, for example. Instead of using a cream sauce or a marinade as a part of this preparation, you simply mix a few ounces with a few tablespoons of water and season to taste. For a healthier option, substitute the sour cream or yogurt with low-fat yogurt or milk, since it doesn't contain any dairy products (and sometimes contains large amounts of sugar). No cookbook is going to tell you not to add the sour cream, since it adds an interesting texture and flavor to the chicken or beef.
Chicken is also great in the making of bone broth, as long as it's served on its own, without any vegetables. Since the acidity in the broth helps neutralize the chicken's natural sweetness, adding celery and onions during the boiling process completely removes the need to season the dish with seasonings. You can also use the celery salt and pepper mixture instead of the traditional salt and pepper mixture, though be careful about using too much. The less the seasoning, the less sour it will be and the more natural the flavor will be.
If you're using it on chicken or beef, keep in mind that cooking time will vary depending on your preferences and the size of your meal. Small pieces of fish should take only about 15 minutes, while a large piece of beef can take up to one hour. You may find that you need to increase the cooking time slightly to account for larger pieces of meat. Just watch your cooking time, and you should be all right. Just add the bone broth to your recipe a few minutes before you plan to serve it.