Minimal Risk Stocks by Lee-Ann Orton and Karin Botta
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Minimal Risk Stocks

Recipes and creative direction by Karin Botta and Lee-Ann Orton

Photography by Neil Kirby

*The budget version
**The baller version

The definition of a stock is basically a broth without the meat. Traditionally, a stock is made from bones, while broth is made from the meat. As you try your hand at making more of your own stocks, you’ll realise that the meat is redundant if you give your basic stock ingredients the TLC they deserve. If you’re aiming to pack as much flavour into your stock in a limited amount of time, then ramp it up with some real pieces of meat.

Above anything else, you want to:

    1. Keep it simple
    2. Brown before you boil
    3. Remember the hero (What kind of stock are you making? That’s what it should taste like.)
    4. Season
    5. Taste
    6. Be patient
    7. Clean it up (skim and strain, some bits don’t taste as good as others)

Chicken (Lee-Ann)

For about 2 litres

1. The Bear Market* (for Risotto, Leek Gratin, Wonton Soup)

1kg of chicken necks

6 Litres of water

Salt

Pepper

Some sunflower oil, or anything with a high smoke point

2. The Bull Market** (for the luxe versions of the above)

2 T of butter

2 Celery stalks

3 White onions, or 3 Shallots, quartered, skin on

Replace half the chicken necks with 1 whole chicken

300ml of white wine, reduced to 30ml

1 Bunch of thyme

White pepper corns

Tips:

Brown meat as the skin and bones carry the most flavour. If any of these go into the pot with a bit of extra caramelisation – bonus!

Method

Heat oven to 180 degrees.

Roast the necks for about 20mins until golden brown.

Transfer to pot.

Deglaze roasting tray with butter first and 1 cup of just-boiled water second.

Add to pot.

Fill with the rest of the water and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to a light, rolling boil.

Aim to reduce the entire stock by at least half.

Taste it, season it, if it lacks depth, continue reducing to a third of the original quantity.

Allow the stock to reduce for at least 4 hours, 6 hours is ideal at the correct heat.

Let cool slightly, just as the fat starts solidifying.

Strain.

Let cool completely before serving.

Remove excess cooled fat.

Heat and use, or freeze.

For Bull version

Follow the above steps by adding the vegetables to the roasting process, and the pepper corns and herbs to the boiling process.

All the while reducing the white wine in a separate pot. You’re looking to reduce just over 1 cup to roughly 2 T. It will take some time, but the syrupy flavour-bomb result is so worth it.

Add this to your re-heated, or just-strained stock before using.

Neil Kirby
Neil Kirby

Beef (Lee-Ann)

For about 2 litres

1. The Bear Market* (for Beef Noodle, French Onion Soup, Tortellini in Brodo)

2 Bags of bones (a mix of off cuts that you’ll find in the meat section of most supermarkets, or ask your butcher)

5/6 Litres water

Some sunflower oil, or anything with a high smoke point

Salt

Pepper

TLC

2. The Bull Market** (for the luxe versions of the above)

1 Bag of bones

2 Pieces of beef shin

3 Pieces of oxtail

3 White onions, or 6 shallots roughly halved or quartered, skin on

2 Bulbs of garlic, halved through the width, skin on

5/6 Litres water

Some sunflower oil, or anything with high smoke point

Salt

Whole black pepper corns

TLC

For Beef Noodle

1 Giant piece of ginger

2 t Chinese 5 Spice

6 Star Anise

For Tortellini in Brodo

2 Leeks

3 Carrots

Tips:

  • Don’t let any of the meat or bones (or other ingredients) burn during the browning process, your stock will go black and bitter and nothing truly reverses that taste!
  • Skim your stock throughout the reduction process
  • Watch the heat of your stove: too high and your stock will reduce too quickly without picking up flavour; too low and you’ll have loads of stock with little flavour.

Method

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Scatter bones in a large roasting tray, season well and drizzle with oil.

Roast for 30-40 mins, keeping a close eye on the tray as the bones brown.

You’re looking for quite a lot of golden caramelisation, minimal scorching around the edges is fine, but remove from the oven before any parts really blacken. During this step you also want to render out most of the fat around the bones.

Transfer browned bones to a large pot.

Deglaze roasting tray with a cup of just-boiled water and scrape any and all bits of meat and residue from the pan.

Add this to the pot.

Fill with the rest of the water and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to a light, rolling boil.

Aim to reduce the entire stock by at least half.

Taste it, season it, if it lacks depth, continue reducing to a third of the original quantity.

Allow the stock to reduce for at least 4 hours, 6 hours is ideal at the correct heat.

Let cool slightly, just as the fat starts solidifying.

Strain.

Let cool completely before using.

Remove excess cooled fat.

Heat and use, or freeze.

For the Bull version of the stock, add the additional ingredients during the roasting process and follow the rest as above.

Cheese (Karin)

For a bout 1.5 litres

1. The Bear Market* (for mac and cheese, cacio e pepe, stracciatella soup)

3 Parmesan rinds (minimum) ideally 4/5

2 Litres water

Patience

2. The Bull Market**  (for the luxe versions of the above)

1 T Olive Oil

1 Onion, quartered

5 Whole cloves of garlic

1 Bay leaf

1 Bunch of flat leaf parsley

200ml White wine

5 Parmesan rinds (minimum)

2 Litres water

Tips:

  • Don’t use moldy rinds – you can freeze them!
  • The simmer should be low, but don’t let the simmer cheese get stuck to the bottom of the pot because the boil is too gentle, it’s a nightmare to clean.

Method

For the basic version, simmer your rinds slowly

Keep going for about four hours, or until the broth is salty and cloudy

For the luxe version, cook your onions and garlic on a low heat in the oil for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and the garlic is fragrant.

Deglaze with the wine and cook off the alcohol

Add the herbs and water

Simmer for 3-4 hours

Strain well

Neil Kirby
Fish stock recipe

Fish (Karin)

For about 2 litres

1. Cheap and Versatile Bear* (chowder, wonton soup, risotto)

1kg fish heads, bones, spines tails, and offcuts – ditch the skins unless salmon in which case, fry and eat for a snack.

2 Medium carrots, chopped

1 Stick of celery, chopped

1 White onion, chopped

1 T Butter (unless it’s for an Asian soup then use a bit of water for the sweating)

2. French and Bisquey Bull** (for quennelles, bisque, bouillabaisse)

Another T of butter

1 Fennel bulb might be nice, chopped

2 Medium tomatoes, chopped

Replace half the fish heads with crayfish and prawn shells and heads, pre-roast them on an oven tray: 180 degrees for 10-15 mins.

5ml Sherry/Brandy/Wine

1 Bay leaf

Parsley

White pepper

Tips:

  • Like with all fish, it will taste better when the fish are fresh and their eyes are glassy
  • Wash out all the blood from the heads before you start (but it wont make you sick)
  • Remove the gills of the fish heads (bitter)
  • Don’t get freaked out by the amount of scumming involved

Method

Open the windows

Sweat the vegetables in butter for five minutes

Add the fish and shells and continue to sweat for five more minutes

If using, add the alcohol and burn off on a high heat. If it’s brandy you can also light it

Add the herbs and tomatoes and stir

Add 2.5 litres of water

Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for an hour

Strain a few times. Throw out the vegetables.

If you really want it clear, crack an egg white in after you’ve strained the hot soup and slowly whisk to pick up all the last dirt specks. Strain one last time, and through cheese cloth if you really need to impress people.

Season with white pepper and salt if it needs it

Use or freeze

Karin Botta is a home cook, culinary purist and lapsed food blogger with Italian food genes and a high-brow-or-low-brow attitude towards cooking and eating. She lives in Amsterdam.

Lee-Ann Orton is an instant ramen connoisseur, but also regularly makes Vietnamese bone broth from scratch for the members of her not-so-secret supper club, named after her beloved dog, Vincent. 

Lee-Ann and Karin are friends and their WhatsApp conversations are mostly centred around cooking and eating. They recently met in Bologna for good tortellini en brodo and Minimal Risk Stocks is an ode to their mutual adoration for something carby in a tasty broth.

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