How to make your own stock from corn cobs, shrimp peels or frozen veggie peelings


Water that’s boiling is boring. Stock that’s boiling is not.

Many cooks routinely make stocks (some call them broths) using leftover chicken carcasses or steak bones, mushroom stems and other vegetable peelings or discards, even fish bones or crab and lobster carapaces.

These we freeze and then utilize for all manner of wet cooking: stews, soups and as the basis of braises and glazes.

By and large, all that is autumn or winter cooking, however, reaching its apogee in late November when rivers of chicken stock tsunami through the kitchen to prepare Thanksgiving Day dinner.

At the beginning of summer, though, I suggest that we comfort ourselves and our cooking by making and using stocks — certainly ones that are lighter and brighter — to add flavor to the cooling foods of warmer weather such as grain salads, poached and chilled fish filets or cold soups such as gazpacho or vichyssoise.

Or, for indeed almost all summer cooking. Why not boil the kidney beans for a three-bean salad in a light stock made of vegetable peelings? You’d ramp up the flavor some few notches that way. Same for boiling pasta, farro, rice or potatoes for other summer salads, or even if any is served merely as a side.



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