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Why is my stock always rubbish?

(23 Posts)
LuxuryMilk Wed 07-Feb-18 18:20:52

I can never make a tasty stock, how do I make it nice?
I usually use a chicken carcass, carrots, onions and celery plus a few herbs. What am I doing wrong?

Mummaly Wed 07-Feb-18 18:28:40

I used to use a bay leaf or two, some black peppercorns along with the things you mention. I boiled it for a good 4-6 hours and then strain it. It would still taste quite watery as I'd put in about 1.5-3 litres of water and some would add a couple of organic chicken stock cubes, depending in amount of liquid and salt and pepper to taste. Then when you add your soup contents, that adds flavour. I would finely dice carrots, celery, courgette and potato with a tbs of tomatoes purée and it was the most delicious veg soup, EVER. According to my family.

Mummaly Wed 07-Feb-18 18:29:57

And some would add chicken stock, should read and SO would add..

moreismore Wed 07-Feb-18 18:32:44

I also had this problem until I routinely began reducing it by about half by just keeping it simmering with the lid off once you’ve strained it. Makes a much more flavoured stock but is extra faffy

Spam88 Wed 07-Feb-18 18:34:11

Agree with more, i reduce it after straining.

barneymcgroo Wed 07-Feb-18 18:41:23

Other thing you can try is saving up a couple of chicken carcasses - stick them in the freezer - and then making a stronger batch. And agree, reduce it down more.

Alternatively, poach a whole chicken, with a few bits of veg in (onion, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, bay). Then you've got poached chicken for soups/sandwiches/noodles whatever, and reduce down the stock to concentrate the flavour.

Myunicornfliessideways Wed 07-Feb-18 18:45:43

Couple of slices of smoked bacon works well for me. You can also buy a pack of chicken wings, throw herbs over the top of them and roast them on high for 25 mins and add them too, that helps. And a slug of white wine never goes amiss either! When you put the roasted bones in the pan and add the water put in cold water and let the whole thing stand for half an hour before you put it over the heat and bring it to simmer, that's also supposed to help leech the good stuff out of the bones.

crackerjacket Wed 07-Feb-18 19:01:56

I'd make sure I use butter to make the soup with. Reducing it more intensifies the flavour.

Unescorted Wed 07-Feb-18 19:21:01

I do mine in a pressure cooker with a bay onion or leek tops and herbs. Uncooked chicken makes a lighter stock than the leftover roast carcass. For both I take the wing tips off because they are bitter. Remove fat by putting the strained stock in the fridge. It floats to the top and solidifies so you just have to scrape it off.

everythingstaken123 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:32:06

As I understand it, if you add cider vinegar (preferably of the mother) to the stock, it helps extract more nutrients out of the bones and makes it even better for you. I agree with others though, reducing it helps the flavour. You can also roast the carcass first to make a darker stock.

LuxuryMilk Wed 07-Feb-18 20:06:25

Right, my next stock is going to be amazing, thank you.

Roasting the carcass, do I just bung the carcass in the oven for a bit?

Myunicornfliessideways Wed 07-Feb-18 20:23:02

Season and stick in the oven for 20 mins or so. Or better still, roast a chicken and use the carcass afterwards. The cook in the bag ones make great stock.

Beamur Wed 07-Feb-18 20:25:27

We often poach the chicken (add herbs, veg etc) which also gives good stock. If your stock is too weak, you need to reduce it more.

HariboIsMyCrack Wed 07-Feb-18 20:27:16

Reduction as pp's said but for me the key is to sizzle the veggies first, one at a time, and let them caramelise a bit before adding the water. I use onion, carrots and celery.

A splat of white wine never does any harm either. wink

GreenBook Wed 07-Feb-18 20:28:08

I add cauliflower, celery leaves, giblets (if I have them) and a splash of vinegar to all the standard stuff (onion, carrot, chicken bones, celery, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves). They all make it a bit tastier.

FaintlyMacabre Wed 07-Feb-18 20:32:21

Agree with Barneymcgroo- since I started saving 3-4 carcasses in the freezer and using them all at once my stock is much better.

Mightybanhammer Wed 07-Feb-18 20:34:15

Gosh never heard of adding vinegar. Not sure am brave enough to try!

I second pp above about doing two carcasses at once. Freeze those, along with leek tops etc until needed.

Then pack stock pot with chicken carcasse/s onion( skin on) a carrot, celery, whole peppercorns, bay, parsley if in season and bouquet garni. Just about cover with boiling water. Bring to a gentle simmer, and turn down. Low for 2 to 3 hrs or, put in oven on low and do overnight.

Strain when ready or it will be bitter, refrigerate, then skim ( because you will have added skin to the original mix for flavour) then reduce by a third or more. You can always dilute it later and it saves space in freezer.

Never ever ever ever use marigold stock cubes or powder. It is filthy and no idea why some tv chefs recommend it.

MsHomeSlice Wed 07-Feb-18 20:34:27

SALT! ....use it liberally
i tend not to peel the veg either for stock, onion skins should give a decent colour to the stock
it's a good idea to save up carcasses as mentioned upthread
And don't boil it too long with the bones in...that's what gives an iffy overcooked school dinner waft to the stock and your house...probably 20 mins for a cooked carcass
any more boiling to reduce then strain it first.
and best way to get fat off is to stick the stock in the fridge overnight and skim it off in the morning when it is set.

mumonashoestring Wed 07-Feb-18 20:36:28

Giving the carcass a proper battering helps as well - means you get more flavour from the bone marrow. Same is true if you put a whole chicken in to make something like pho - if it goes in with legs etc. broken open it definitely helps.

Hassled Wed 07-Feb-18 20:37:12

My stock is always unpleasantly oily - I've tried to strain the oil off but there's just always this sort of fatty oily taste to it I can't remove. It's put me right off. Stock is one of those things where I can't make it nicer than I can buy it, IYSWIM.

CreekyOldKnee Wed 07-Feb-18 20:49:35

Agree with mumonashoestring - I always chop the bones to make sure the bone marrow gets into the stock. This also makes it much more gelatinous.

Put it through a fine sieve (with muslin if you can be bothered) and mush up the veg when straining so you get all the flavour out of them. Chuck it in the fridge, use a spoon to take off the fat once it's cold.

CatchIt Wed 07-Feb-18 20:55:08

I also roast chicken wings when I roast a chicken. It adds to the gravy and then I use the bones for my stock. I also use less water.

If I've made a spectacularly shit stock, I bing a jelly stock cube in 😳😂

LemonysSnicket Wed 07-Feb-18 21:00:04

I buy it packaged from Sainsbury’s ... my stews are 100% better

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