Café Medina’s Adam Perrier shares his best tips for mastering meat, chicken and veggie stocks.

Every kitchen is stocked (get it?) with staple items: eggs, flour, olive oil. But for Café Medina‘s Chef Adam Perrier, homemade stocks are essential: “Whether you want to make barbecue sauce in the summer or soup in the winter, they are a great way to add flavour and richness to a dish. They’re also full of protein!” he says. “When making your stock, you have many options—you can roast the bones and the aromatic vegetables to get more flavour with a deeper colour or even use up leftover vegetable trim and scraps (just avoid using anything that’s rotten).” Read on for his best stock making tips!

6 Ways to Perfect Stock

Meat Stock“Ideally, you want to use bones that have lots of cartilage. I like to use joints (or knuckles) and feet (chicken feet, pig trotters). And you can always ask for bones, knuckles or even chicken carcasses at the meat counter if you can’t find them on display.”Veggie Stock“Over-roasting or burning the vegetables can lead to a bitter-tasting stock. Your stock will be the backbone of whatever you make with it, so its flavour needs to be clean and crisp.”Take Your TimeHow long you cook your stock depends on the type you’re making:

• Chicken/poultry stock: 4 to 6 hours• Beef and game stock: 6 to 8 hours• Fish and vegetable stock: 1 to 2 hours

When to Season It“Many chefs will tell you not to season your stock with salt initially as most often stock is used to make a demi glaze. This reduction will concentrate the salt, which you cannot remove. If you’re planning to make a demi glaze or a reduction with the stock, season your demi glaze at the end. Otherwise season the bones with salt when you roast them.”Never Boil Your Stock! (During the cooking process.)“Essentially, a stock is an extraction of collagen from the bones. The slower this process goes the better your end product will be. You want to get a good yield from your stock—boiling will reduce it too fast and make it cloudy.”How to Store It“Once cooled, your finished stock can be portioned into ice cube trays, frozen and then kept in a freezer bag/container for easy use and smaller applications. A meat stock is good in the fridge for about a week. You can always bring the stock back up to a boil to refresh it.”

Get the recipe for Chef Perrier’s simple chicken stock here, or browse the WL Recipe Finder for more great recipes! 

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