Stella Culinary's Guide To Stock

What Is Stock?

A stock is a liquid made by slowly simmering ingredients in water to extract their flavor. The French word for stock is “fond,” meaning foundation, a true testament to just how important these flavored-liquids are to the cooking process. A great stock is one of the most important assets chefs and amateur cooks have at their disposals.

Ingredients Needed For Making Stock

There are four basic components to any great stock:

Bones – The key element (unless it is vegetarian), bones with a high collegian content (such as veal knuckle bones or chicken necks and wings) are best for making a traditional stock.

Mirepoix – Mirepoix, a mixture of onions, celery and carrots, is added to the stock for it’s aromatic qualities and to deepen the flavor of the stock. The basic ratio for classical mirepoix is:

  • 2 Parts Onion

  • 1 Part Celery

  • 1 Part Carrot

  • Note: For every five pounds of bones, you will need 1 pound of mirepoix.

Water – Seems pretty self-explanatory, but there are some things to consider. The water in which you simmer the rest of your ingredients will make up a large percentage of your stock. If you live in an area with hard water, or just poor water quality in general, I would recommend using bottled water. You don’t have to go crazy, the filtered water that is dispensed into plastic jugs at your local supermarket will work just fine.

Sachet – There are no hard and fast rules to creating sachets. A sachet basically refers to aromatic herbs and spices that are tied up in a cheesecloth pouch and simmered with soups, sauces, or stocks to add extra flavor. A basic sachet for a stock will usually include:

  • Bay Leaf

  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

  • Whole Black Peppercorns

  • Whole Cloves

  • Parsley Stems

  • Note: The amount of each ingredient you add to your stock is based on personal preference and how much stock you will be making.

Basic Recipe for Protein- Based Stocks

  • 5 pounds bones

  • 1 pound Mirepoix

  • 8 ounces tomato paste (If making veal stock)

  • Sachet: 5-10 Peppercorns, 5 sprigs thyme, 5 parsley stems, ½ bay leaf, 2 whole cloves

  • Water to cover

More Information

There are 2 Comments

GreenBake's picture

This is mostly a general question that came up when I was making some mirepoix for some soup, etc.

Since carrots, celery and onions cook at different rates and have different amounts of water, should the size of the carrots, celery or onions ever be different?

Or should the carrots, celery or onions be added at different times for some applications (needing  a run through a food mill)?