Stocking Up

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So I have a new habit of storing every little scrap of food waste in my freezer. Onions skins, asparagus woods, chicken carcasses, carrot nubs, garlic paper, you name it and it's in my freezer. The reason being is I've developed a penchant for making stock out of everything. Oh, and I mean everything.

I now have:
2 pints of chicken stock
1 pint of Vietnamese chicken stock (my name for it)*
6 pints of asparagus stock
1 pint of cheese stock
2 pints of mussel stock

I also have two rooster carcasses and their feet from Rooster Killfest 2009 (future post).

I think the reason is because stock is just so fucking easy to make. So why wouldn't I just save every scrap and get the most out of it? Furthermore as I usually spend my weekends locked up at home studying or writing, it's simple enough to just turn on the damn stove and let it go for a few hours. Plus, when I feel the need for risotto or soup or braising or whatnot then I have some of the best tasting stock in the world. Seriously, my Vietnamese stock is so good it'll knock your socks clean off and into the washer.

As for the mussel stock, I have no clue what to do with it. Something cheap and affordable. Any ideas or suggestions? Bouillabaisse is out as it requires to much seafood for me to be willing to purchase (I could, I'm just too goddamn stingy), so I am please leave any thoughts in the comments.

*Ah, someone has asked for the Vietnamese Chicken stock. Just make chicken stock as you normally would, but rather than leeks and carrots and celery use the following: 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, some black peppercorns, some fennel seed, some coriander seed, salt, 2 chopped up sweet onions, 3 garlic cloves, and a few bruised up sticks of lemongrass. If you have some makrut lime on hand use that too. This is just a general guideline, I usually just throw this together based on what I have in the pantry.


  1. Hey Garrett - For your muscle stock, steam some clams and mussels in white wine, strain. Bring the wine, your stock and heavy cream back to boil, reducing by a third -season with salt & pepper. Take the meat out of the shells and put into small bowls or large cups. Serve it up with some of your enhanced broth over top. You can also add onions or shallots if you like (sauteed in butter). It makes a great soup.
    As for your asparagus stock, if it's anything like mine it smells bad and tastes bad. Throw it out. Or if your German,make an aspic and then throw that out :)
    Cin cin - Dennis

  2. Good god you are a machine...I thought I was a stock fanatic but I would never have thought to use the cheese! Mussel stock does seem to cry out for cream. Might be nice with a little curry thrown in with the cream...kind of a take on moules mouclade?

  3. i'd suggest rissoto with the mussel stock

    and how on earth do you have room in your freezer???

  4. How about risotto with the mussel stock? I would substitute about a quarter of the chicken/vegetable broth with the mussel stock, which could give the risotto a nice undertone of the sea. Or a disgusting undertone of the sea, but fun to try! You could add some seafood to the risotto, plus some tomatoes and anything else that sounds good.

  5. mussel stock? sounds like a jewish greeting... but i would go with a seafood risotto or similar, but that's coz it's late and my imagination went to bed already.
    please enlighten me on cheese stock... i'm intrigued (or whoever that's spelled - brain went to bed with imagination...)

  6. triplestripe: Cheese stock is made by taking old cheese rinds from parm or pecorino and throwing it into a pot with a spot or two of garlic and maybe some onion and peppercorns. Very tasty stuff. Great for minestrone or risotto.

  7. It's taken me months to teach them, but anytime anyone cuts the first layer from an onion, the head off of a carrot or the rib meat from a chicken breast, they now know that it goes immediately into the bag in the freezer labeled "STOCK." I'll throw absolutely anything in the world in there - including, as you mentioned cheese rinds, and then when I have chicken bones laying around, into the pot they go.

    It really makes making stock a lot easier (not that it was ever difficult - but sometimes the thing between me and stock is the fact that i'm going to have to spend another five minutes in the kitchen breaking down veggies to throw in.) Plus, it makes me feel thrify and eco-friendly not to have wasted food that worked so hard to get to my kitchen :P

    Kudos to you :)

  8. My suggestion on the mussel stock would be to save it for after you make the rooster stock. Then mix the mussel stock with 1/2 its volume in rooster stock, then add lemongrass, ginger, a star anise and shallots and let this simmer for 20 minutes or more.

    Now use it as the base for a Vietnamese seafood pho. Toss a few mussels in, plus some shrimp and a small piece of shark or other firm fish. (Shark is cheaper than swordfish and you can buy smaller pieces for when you are on a budget).

    That's my $0.02.

  9. I make chicken stock the super fast way- in a pressure cooker!(its atleast better than the supermarket stuff)
    Well never heard abt the cheese stock- any old rotting cheese will do? I have a variety of green smelly fungus in my fridge right now! I am ready to make this cheese stock (- somehow sounds very intriguing).pls do post abt it, Garrett.

  10. Sudu- Already replied to this. Use any rinds from hard cheeses. Soft and funky old cheese won't work.

  11. My first thought for the mussel stock was raviolis, mushroom or seafood, with a nice mussel-shallot-cream sauce. Then I remembered your aversion to the divinity of Italian Cuisine . . . le sigh, le gran sigh.

    My next thought is some sort of Moroccan thing, cook down some onions, add coriander, cumin, tumeric, chili, paprika, tomato paste & juice, your broth and some lemony brightness. Cook your mussels in that. You could serve it with a cous cous made with the rest of your broth and some parsley.

  12. I just received my e-newsletter from The Spanish Table and it had a recipe for fideo that sounds like you could use your mussel broth for -

    "Fideau, or fideo, is a dish made in a paella pan with short pasta noodles, garlic, broth and whatever else you've got on hand. To use those Spanish noodles, try this recipe from The Spanish Table Cookbook:

    Fideo Pasta with Seafood in Oloroso Cream Sauce (serves 4)

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
    1 pound salmon, or a 1 pound mixture of shrimp meat and crab
    ½ cup dry Oloroso sherry
    3 cups clam juice or water
    ½ pound fideo pasta
    1 cup half-and-half
    1 tablespoon minced parsley
    Heat oil in a 12-inch or larger paella pan and cook the pasta until it turns golden. Remove pasta from pan, reserving the oil. Add garlic to pan and cook until soft. Add the seafood and saute for 1 minute on each side. Add the sherry and clam juice, then bring to a boil.
    Add the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the pasta has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Add the half-and-half and parsley and cook until incorporated. This is even better with a bowl of alioli (garlic mayonnaise) served on the side.
    "When fideua is outlawed; only outlaws will have fideua." Steve Winston"

  13. How do you make asparagus stock??


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