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Recipes for Fish and Shrimp Stocks

The best reason for preparing homemade stock is the superior taste. Once you discover the delicious flavor of homemade stock, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Canned stocks often have a metallic taste and boxed stocks can taste like cardboard. In addition, they either have too much salt or little resemblance to the flavor they advertise on the container!

Homemade stock requires little active cooking time but produce a huge amount of flavor. Make a large batch, divide into 1/2 cup portions, and store in the freezer until needed. The small portions melt rapidly in soups or in the microwave.

Shrimp Stock Recipe

Makes about 3-1/2 quarts of stock

4 pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water

Rinse the shrimp in a colander under cold running water.

Transfer shrimp to a large stockpot. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface during cooking. Allow the shrimp to cool in the water, then strain stock, reserving liquid. Discard seasonings and shrimp.

Stock is ready to use or can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. Unused stock can be frozen for 2 – 3 months.


Fish Stock Recipe

Makes about 3-1/2 quarts of stock

3 pounds fresh fish bones, heads, and trimmings from white-fleshed fish
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 stalk celery, roughly chopped
2 carrot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water

Rinse the fish parts in a colander under cold running water. Transfer fish to a large stockpot and add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface during cooking. Allow the fish to cool in the water, then strain stock, reserving liquid. Discard seasonings and fish parts.

Stock is ready to use or can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. Unused stock can be frozen for 2 – 3 months.


Cook’s Notes

The best way to gather ingredients for stocks is to make friends with your local fishmonger, butcher, or fisherman. You can also collect trimmings from your own cooking and store in the freezer until you have enough to make stock with. If all else fails, you can buy fish or shellfish for the sole purpose of making stock.

For ease of use, freeze unused stock in 1/2 cup containers or muffin tins. Once frozen, pop out of the tin and store in zip-lock freezer bags, in the freezer, until needed.

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