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Fresh homemade stock is made from the leftover juices of fish, poultry, meat or vegetables, and gives a well-seasoned background to many dishes such as soups, stews, gravies and risottos.

Fish stock
15g butter
1 small onion, finely diced
750g/11/2 lb fish bones
250ml white wine or the juice of 1.2 lemons
1 litre water
10 peppercorns a few parsley stalks and a bay leaf.
In a large pan, melt the butter and fry the onion until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any scum. Strain before use.

Vegetable stock
There is no definitive recipe for vegetable stock. Start by frying onions until tender, then add a good balance of vegetables so that no one ingredient dominates. Cabbage adds a fuller flavour, carrots and parsnips add a little sweetness, leeks add a rich sweet onion flavour and tomatoes add good colour. Simmer together with plenty of water, and add herbs such as parsley, bay, thyme and peppercorns. Simmer for 30 minutes then strain before use.

Meat stocks
Beef makes excellent general use stock, but fatty meat such as lamb, pork and oily poultry like duck and goose have too distinctive a flavour.

Beef stock
The best stock is made from beef or veal bones. Ask the butcher to chop shin or knuckle bones into chunks
1kg shin beef bones
2-3 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 bayleaf
3 sprigs thyme
10 pepper corns
A small handful of parsley

Place the beef bones in a large roasting tin and roast in hot oven 2000c/Gas 6 for 30 minutes, then add the vegetables and roast for a further 30 minutes.
Place the bones and vegetables in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. (Add water to the roasting pan, scrape up all the caramelised juices and add to the pan too - this is known as deglazing the pan.)
Add the tomato puree and herbs, then bring the water to the boil and simmer for 4-5 hours over a very low heat. Skim off the frothy scum occasionally. Partially cover the pan and add more water if necessary.
Strain the stock through a sieve lines with muslin. Store the stock in a fridge for 1-2 days or freeze.

Chicken stock
Use up the leftover chicken or turkey carcass after a roast dinner; it makes a delicious stock for soups, sauces and gravies. Add the giblets (neck, heart and liver) too, if you have them. A whole chicken can be poached in water to make a full flavoured stock, and the meat can be used in other recipes.

1 chicken or turkey carcass
giblets if available
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 bayleaf
1 sprig thyme
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
6 peppercorns

Place ingredients in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any scum then strain the stock through a sieve. Store for 1-2 days in the fridge or freeze.



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