What do you do with the scraps when you’re making a roast? Nothing? Think again – because what you’re throwing out will make the best flavour for your next casserole, risotto or gravy.
Next time you’re preparing dinner, put a large pan or pressure cooker next to you, and chuck everything in it. Yup – everything! Potato, kumara, pumpkin seeds, vegetable peels and tops, any fat, skin and gizzards, the ends from broccoli stalks, the tough bit of the cabbage: the whole lot goes into the pan.
Next, half fill the pan with water and add a couple of bay leaves, a stick of celery (with leaves), a handful of whole peppercorns, a couple of cloves of garlic, a star anise and a good pinch or two of salt. Leave to sit, and enjoy your dinner.
Once everyone’s eaten and plates are cleared, chuck in the rest. Any meat bones can go in, as well as any leftover meat and vegetables that you’re not saving for a different dish. Bit of mustard left? Put a bit of cold water in the jar, shake it up and add to the pan.
Now turn on the pan, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for at least 2 hours, preferably longer. (For pressure cookers, turn up to high until the button pops then turn down and leave for 25 minutes.)
Resist the temptation to stir, as this makes the stock cloudier. If you want a clearer stock, simmer on as low a heat as you can, and skim the impurities off the top every 20 minutes or so.
Leave to cool (I often leave mine overnight to get every bit of flavour into the stock), then carefully drain through a sieve or colander, reserving the liquid. Discard your solid mix.
You actually now have a great stock; however you may want to refine it a bit more, depending on what you want to do with it.
- To make the stock leaner, allow to cool and place in the refrigerator. The fat will rise to the top: simply skim this off. (Don’t throw it away – it makes a great oil base for the next time you’re frying.)
- Ladle the stock into the sieve or colander, don’t pour.
- After draining the stock, run it through a cheesecloth or muslin to catch even more of the impurities.
- Use the egg-white method. Separate an egg (reserve yolk for later use) and whip white until it’s fluffy. Stir the egg whip into the strained stock and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. As it cools, the egg white will rise to the top, bringing with it more impurities.
- If your stock still isn’t clear enough, drain through several layers of muslin or cheesecloth, or repeat the egg white process.