I know I can wax Quixotic for how most of you cook on a daily basis and the things I cook you’d never attempt in a million years. However, today we’re gonna do something everyone can cook and it’ll change your life.

Homemade stock.

Now I hear you, you say “But Rachel Ray sells it in a box at the store and it’s easy and it’s pretty good.” Sure, in a pinch when you’re in the weeds okay, box stock will do. But make ‘stock day’ in your repertoire and you’ll never have to buy stock again. The cost is negligible compared to what they charge for stock. Safeway a local grocery store here makes their own version called “Organics” and their low sodium chicken stock sells for $2.00 for 32oz.
My ingredients and their relative cost in US$.
One leek (1.27)
One yellow onion (1.20)
4 carrots (.75)
4 stalks celery (2.00)
Fresh rosemary (from my garden)(2.09)
Fresh oregano (from my garden)(2.09)
fresh sage 2 kinds (from my garden)(2.09)
3 lemons (from my tree)(.99)
3 turkey backs (Whole foods)(7.12 for 4.58lbs)

So to figure your cost for the stock. My pot is a 12 quart stock pot so for the above mentioned prices for me without buying herbs it costs $12.34 or roughly $1.03 for 32 oz… if you had to buy herbs (which would make several batches of stock) it would be $19.60 or $1.63 per 32oz.

So first we wash all the vegetables, especially the leeks because they grow in sandy soil and you need to cut them in half lengthwise and split the layers to get it all out. Scrub your carrots and celery and top and tail them then peel your onion. Scrub your lemons and top and tail them. Cut everything into large pieces. (see the photo).

Spread it out onto a nice big roasting pan, place your herbs over the vegetables and drizzle with a good olive oil liberally. Place the turkey backs on top of the vegetables salt the turkeys and then drizzle them with a little more oil to coat. Pop the whole thing into a 350-375°F oven (depending on the efficiency of your oven) and bake for 30-45 minutes keeping an eye on the turkeys until they are a deep carmelized golden brown.

At this point up-end the entire amount into a giant stockpot. Return your roasting pan to the top of your stove and place it over a burner, deglaze the pan with your favorite liquor to get the fond off the pan. Last time I used Calvados and it worked really great. Be mindful of the color, if you want a light perfect stock and you use Madeira to deglaze (dark red) you won’t get a light color stock. (But it will be tasty!) :D

After you deglaze the pan of all the meaty tasty bits (the fond) dump it into the stock pot and fill with water. Let it come to a boil and cover and cook (refilling water as necessary as it cooks down) for as long as it takes the flavor to develop. For me, I usually let it cook at least 2 hours, sometimes as much as 3 or 4 if I want more of a consomme instead of stock.

The thing is, once you make your own stock and you taste how good it is, you’ll never want to go back to box stock. I hope everyone will give it a try. Use any herbs you want to try, change up what vegetables you use based on whats in season, use beef or veal bones. But most of all use your imagination, have fun, and enjoy yourself.