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I can’t believe that in five years of blogging, this recipe hasn’t been posted on The Domestic Man. There’s no excuse, it was very shellfish of me (sorry, I had to). To be fair, I did post a lobster stock recipe last year, so there’s that.

The idea for writing a shellfish stock recipe came from the fact that over the last couple months I’ve basically eaten my weight in crawfish; since we now live so close to Louisiana, it’s really cheap when in season, and super fresh. Heck, there was even a crawfish festival in the town we live in a while back. But I was always bothered by the fact that everyone throws their crawfish shells away afterwards, so I started bringing them home to make stock. Instructions on how to make stock with other shellfish, like crab and shrimp, are also provided below.

One of my favorite aspects of making shellfish stock, or any stock in general, is that it presents an opportunity to cook with some items that often end up in the garbage (or compost bin). For example, I prefer using parsley stems in my stocks because it frees up the leaves for other recipes, and it’s one of the better ways to use up celery “hearts” (the center part), since they’re mostly leaves.

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There are two types of people: those who make stock all the time and don’t need or want someone else to tell them how to do it, and those who are intimidated by the process and never start in the first place. The other day, when writing my Blue Crab and Chipotle Bisque recipe, I realized that simply calling for fish stock was a little mean to the latter group, since they might not have some fish stock handy. Honestly, it was a little negligent of me to have this blog for over four years and not post a fish stock guide – after all, what if it was the only thing stopping you from making my delicious Brudet recipe?

One thing in particular I like about fish stock is that it’s surprisingly cheap to make. For example, most fish markets will give you their unused fish heads for free or super cheap. Additionally, I find that the best herbs for making stock are actually the stems of fresh herbs, which means you can save the actual herbs for other cooking creations. Fish stock keeps well in the freezer; we tend to divide the stock into pint jars and leave them in the freezer until we need them. We often use it to whip up a quick fish-based soup, or to add to risotto or fish curries.

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Phew! January has come and gone, which means that my tradition of sharing only Whole30 recipes during the month is over. While I think that Whole30 recipes are easy to make and fun to work with, I miss cooking with alcohol the most each January. So let’s dive right into February with an easy, tasty recipe that can be used in many different ways – lobster stock. Most people associate stock with long, boring hours of slow-cooking. The opposite is true with lobster (and all shellfish) stock, as it’s just a matter of sautéing vegetables and the shells, then adding water and wine, and cooking until it’s super delicious (about 45 minutes).

The folks at Lobster.com were kind enough to donate a lobster for my stock recipe. They ship overnight to the continental US, and it was quite an experience to receive a package in the mail that contains a live, breathing animal; not only was it alive, but it was the most lively lobster I’ve ever worked with! I par-boiled the lobster (instructions in the recipe below) so that I could use its shell for stock, and its meat for a Lobster and Mussel Bouillabaisse. I bought a couple lobster shells from my local grocer to add to this recipe and I was amazed at how thick and hearty the Lobster.com shell was compared to what I usually buy!

I was also able to arrange a giveaway through Lobster.com: two 1.5 lb live lobsters, delivered to your door ($65 value)! To enter, click here to enter via Rafflecopter. The giveaway is limited to continental US residents and ends midnight, Saturday, Feb 8th, 2014. Good luck! Okay, let’s move on to the recipe.

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Attukal Paya (sometimes spelled as Aattukaal Paya or just Paya) is a hearty soup made with lamb, sheep, or goat feet served in South India. What fascinates me about this dish is that it’s often served for breakfast – initially this sounded strange to me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense; why not start your day out with some nutritious bone broth soup?

I also love the idea of throwing together a bunch of ingredients at night and waking up to breakfast already made!

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

There are four main benefits to making your own homemade stock:

1. It saves you money, especially if you use leftover chicken parts. As you’ll see in this recipe, even buying chicken parts specifically for stock is still cheaper than buying commercially-available stock.
2. You get to control the taste of the broth, especially how much salt goes into it – which in my case is NONE. I prefer to add salt to my dishes as I cook them, without having to worry about how salty my broth is going to make my dish.
3. You can make it as concentrated as you’d like, which helps you save valuable freezer/fridge space.
4. You have control over where the chicken comes from, and how it was processed, by purchasing your birds/parts from a local farm or from awesome places like U.S. Wellness Meats.

For this recipe, I used chicken parts from U.S. Wellness Meats; specifically, chicken backs and necks. I used these parts because they have lots of bones, which house a lot of nutrients that are imparted into the broth. U.S. Wellness Meats were out of chicken feet at the time of my order, so I got some locally. These are great because they are full of bones and collagen, which create a rich, flavorful, and gelatinous broth. Other options for chicken parts are leftover chicken carcasses (store them in the freezer after roasting a chicken, until you have a few ready to go), or whole stewing hens (older chickens that are too tough to eat using quick-cooking methods).

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Many stores or butcher shops have beef marrow bones on the cheap, which make a dense and highly nutritious stock and excellent soup base. Although I’ve made my own stock using oxtails I’ve been wanting to try my hand at other soups, so marrow bones seemed like the best starting spot.

Before we dive into this recipe, let’s have a quick culinary lesson. “Stock” refers to a liquid that’s made from simmering bones, and “broth” is made from meat. You can use both, and as far as I know that’s still referred to as “stock”. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s make some food.

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