Fat should always be removed before stock is used. The easiest method to
accomplish this is to cool the strained stock quickly by allowing it to sit in a
bowl of ice. Once cooled, pour the stock into a bowl and allow it to chill
covered and undisturbed in the refrigerator for at least four hours. The fat
will rise to the top. If the fat content is minimal, it will appear in small
globules. Larger fat content will appear in a hardened layer on top of the bowl.
Once hardened, the layer of fat can be easily scooped out with a spoon.
If there isn’t enough time to allow the stock to cool, skim off as much fat
as possible with a slotted spoon. An easy trick for removing fat is to put
several ice cubes into cool stock and stir them around for a few seconds. The
fat will cling to the ice, and then easily removed. Another method for removing
fat is to draw a paper towel sheet across the top to soak up surface fat. This
step will most likely have to be repeated several times in order to remove all
of the fat.
Stocks can be reduced to concentrated form by boiling it rapidly on the stove
top after all the fat is removed.
Fish stock is a very light broth that is often used when pouching
seafood; but also equally compatible with delicate fish soups as well as
hearty stews. The primary difference between preparing fish stock and
other stocks discussed here is that fish stock cannot simmer for long
periods of time. If it is simmered for more than one hour after reaching
the simmering point, it will become bitter in taste. For best results,
use only the bones of white fish [such as cod, halibut, or grouper].
Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and bluefish are not suitable for
broth. If heads are added, remove the eyes and gills. Shrimp shells are
also suitable for use in preparing fish stock. For added flavour, dry
white wine can be substituted for one cup of water.
The following recipe yields approximately 3 ½ cups of fish stock.
2 lb (900g)fish bones and trimmings
peeled and sliced
6whole white peppercorns
3 ¾ cupswater
Rinse bones and trimmings in cold water
Cut large bones and pieces of fish into chunks
Place vegetable in the base of the slow cooker
Add peppercorns and bouquet garni
Place fish bones and pieces on top
Pour water into pot, making sure bones are covered – leaving 3cm
(1½ inch) space at the top
Cover and cook on high – 1 hour or until simmering
Remove scum with slotted spoon
Simmer – 1 hour NOT LONGER
Strain in fine sieve or wet cheesecloth
Store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use