This is the general formula for a simple stock made from a miscellaneous collection of bones and meat scraps. It may be employed for meat sauces, the braising of meats and vegetables, the flavoring of soups, and for deglazing a roasting pan. The stock may be made from bones alone, but will have more character if some meat is included; ideal proportions are about half and half. The more elaborate stocks follow exactly the same cooking procedure.
Place the meat and bones in the kettle and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Set over moderate heat. As the liquid comes slowly to the simmer, scum will start to rise. Remove it with a spoon or ladle for 5 minutes or so, until it almost ceases to accumulate.
Add all the ingredients at the left, and more water if the liquid does not cover the ingredients by a full inch. When liquid is simmering again, skim as necessary. Partially cover the kettle, leaving a space of about 1 inch for steam to escape. Maintain liquid at a very quiet simmer—just a bubble or two of motion at the surface—for 4 to 5 hours or more. Accumulated fat and scum may be skimmed off occasionally. Boiling water should be added if the liquid evaporates below the level of the ingredients.
Never allow the liquid to boil; fat and scum incorporate themselves into the stock and will make it cloudy. Cooking may be stopped at any time, and continued later. Never cover the kettle airtight unless its contents have cooled completely, or the stock will sour. When your taste convinces you that you have simmered the most out of your ingredients, strain the stock out of the kettle into a bowl. TO DEGREASE Either let the stock settle for 5 minutes, remove the fat from its surface with a spoon or ladle, then draw scraps of paper toweling over the top of the stock to blot up the last globules of fat; Or set the stock, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the fat has hardened on the surface and can be scraped off. FINAL FLAVORING Taste the degreased stock for strength. If its flavor is weak, boil it down to evaporate some of its water content and to concentrate its strength. Correct seasoning, and it is ready to use. STORAGE When the stock is cold, cover and refrigerate it, or bottle and freeze it. Stock kept in the refrigerator must be brought to the boil every 3 or 4 days to keep it from spoiling.