Back-Burner Stock

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Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 cups


This light-bodied broth is a mélange of scraps that you can collect and save as you cook during the week–use whatever you have. For a shrimp and chorizo paella to make with this, go to


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces charcuterie trimmings (such as ham, bacon, and/or sausage ends)

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 bunch cilantro stems

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled, halved

2 bay leaves

1 cup coarsely chopped mixed vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and/or fennel)

1 teaspoon coriander or fennel seeds

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Shrimp shells (optional)


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add charcuterie, onion, cilantro stems, garlic, bay leaves, vegetables, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and shrimp shells (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells turn bright pink and vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes.

Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids.

Stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.