Taking stock for better food

-mini1-4cr- indian (continental) Food displays at Hussains Mini Market, Hanson Lane, Halifax. (vegetables)
-mini1-4cr- indian (continental) Food displays at Hussains Mini Market, Hanson Lane, Halifax. (vegetables)

The basis of many great dishes is a good stock.

This week, Glenn Futter shares a stock recipe that’ll last a lifetime.

“To me, being able to make a good stock is an essential kitchen skill. However, it seems to be one of those things which is often bought at the supermarket – but you’re missing a trick; it can easily be made at home. The difference between a readymade and homemade stock is the difference between a good and a great dish!

“The great thing about a good vegetable stock is that you can pretty much add in whatever vegetables you like and have to hand. This week, I’ve decided to keep it pretty simple so that you can get the basics right and experiment at a later date.”

Equipment

Heavy based pan, chopping board, sharp knife, strainer

Ingredients

2 onions (large), 3 carrots (large), 3 celery sticks, 2 large tomatoes, 15 black peppercorns (whole), small bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 garlic cloves

Method

lFirstly, place your heavy-based pan on the hob over a medium to high heat and add your olive oil.

lNow - whilst the oil is warming up - peel the skins off your onions and chop the celery, tomatoes and carrots into good sized chunks. You don’t even need to peel your celery and carrots!

lNow that your pan is nice and hot, add your vegetables and let them sweat slowly for around four to five minutes.

lWhen the vegetables have had chance to sweat, add in enough water to cover your vegetables (with a little room to spare at the top of the pan). Then turn up the heat. Also, a little something to consider – the less water you pour in the more concentrated your stock will be and the more water you add, the weaker the stock will be.

lAdd in the parsley, black peppercorns and any additional ingredients, bring the pan up the boil and then turn down to a slow simmer for around an hour.

lWhen this time has elapsed, take the pan off the heat and pour the contents through the strainer over a large bowl. The vegetables can now be thrown away or put aside to use elsewhere.

lA handy tip - you don’t have to use all your stock at once as it can be easily frozen. Simply pour into ice-cube trays and use it as and when needed.

lGlenn Futter is the head chef at La Cachette restaurant in Elland. www.lacachette-elland.com