Homemade stock is a crucial element in delicious soups and stews. It was no surprise to find a great stock recipe in Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders as the base for the Cajun Shrimp Stew, set to post on Monday. Although it is easy to do the entire recipe in an afternoon, I thought it might be helpful for some to have the stock recipe prepared in advance.
When shopping for this dish, it was not easy to find a good quantity of shrimp shells and heads. Many large grocery chains now have their fish products trimmed at a larger facility and shipped to them case-ready. I had some shells from the shrimp for the stew, but that was not enough for a great stock. To improvise, I asked Whole Foods for a 3-4 pound fish head, which they had. Availability of scraps and carcasses can simply be an issue of timing; however, a good fishmonger will usually have something to offer in their freezer.
As Emeril indicates in the introduction to the recipe, it makes a remarkable difference to roast or brown the bones or carcasses. Roasting the savory vegetables in a 350° oven for 45 minutes or so will caramelize the sugars and deepen the flavor of the stock even more. Allowing time for it to reduce will create an aromatic and richly fortified stock, you do not want to skip this step in the process. With this Rich Shrimp Stock we are one step closer to the Cajun Shrimp Stew!
Emeril’s Rich Shrimp Stock
Yield: About 12 cups
This stock is so easy to make, yet so flavorful—make a batch every time you have shells and heads from fresh shrimp and you’ll never have to worry about where to get shrimp stock again. You’ll find that toasting the shells in oil before adding the water gives added depth to this stock, which can be used in countless ways.
1 to 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
14 cups water
1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped (the onion peel deepens the color of the stock)
½ cup roughly chopped celery
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley
1. Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.
2. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45 to 60 minutes.
3. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before using. (The stock may also be placed in airtight containers and frozen for up to several months.)
Note: You can easily double the ingredient amounts to make a larger batch of stock. To save space in the freezer, you can reduce the stock further after straining and discarding the solids. Just add water to the defrosted stock to reconstitute as needed.