Monday, March 9, 2015

Technique: Making Your Own Shrimp Stock

Shrimp shells are notorious for being extremely sweet and fragrant, releasing lots of flavor when cooked. It is why the shell is left on entirely in certain recipes that call for stir frying. But what can we do with shrimp shells when they're not called for in a dish? We make shrimp stock!

One of the goals of this blog is to promote quality home cooking. Sometimes, that means saving and freezing your shrimp shells in a zip-lock bag for the future. Don't discard those shells, chicken bones, or even whole carcasses (rotisserie chicken for example, makes for a great stock)! A great shrimp stock can be added to any simple seafood dish and the returns are exponential.

Shrimp Shells

-You can make as little or as much as you want every time. The stock takes only 30-60 minutes to prepare, and can improve any seafood dish immensely!
-Try adding in whole black peppercorns!
-Use shrimp stock in combination of other cooked seafood! The sweet flavors released from clams, mussels, scallops and all the other types of seafood all complement each other. By adding shrimp stock, you bolster the flavor profiles by creating a wonderful base.
-Fan of Korean cooking? Try changing out the carrots and celery for radish, shiitake mushrooms, and konbu seaweed! The stock would make for any great korean soup or stew, such as Soondubu Jigae.
-Try using this for a base for any seafood styled hotpot! Change out the carrots and celery again and use corn, shiitake mushrooms, green onion, and many other ingredients!

-Freeze the shrimp stock after making it. The flavors don't hold too well after being frozen, unlike chicken or pork bone stock.
-Season with too much salt! You will be seasoning your actual dish and using this stock to enhance the flavors. Think of low sodium chicken broth.
-Add too many different or too much herbs. Chances are, you're adding them to your final dish also. Don't commit double jeopardy!

The Stock:
Olive oil and shrimp shells go into the pot, cook until fragrant on medium-high heat. Add your carrot, celery, onion, and garlic whole (no chopping needed for any of the vegetables) and fill with enough water to cover. The proportions will change depending on how much you need to make. For reference, the picture shown on this blog shows the shells of 1 pound of shrimp, 1 large carrot, 3 stalks for celery, 1 large onion, and 4 cloves of garlic produced the perfect amount of stock to use in the Cioppino I was making that day.

The stock is done when the vegetables become soft and start to give away. You don't have to simmer it until the vegetables dissolve, but 1 hour should do the trick. You can do this while you're preparing mise en place for your other ingredients and dishes!

How To Use Shrimp Stock:
-Making Seafood Pasta! Add in 1-2 cups after sauteing your vegetables, along with your white wine before adding in your seafood. After cooking, transfer your undercooked pasta (by 1-2 minutes) into your seafood sauce, and allow the pasta to finish cooking. The pasta will absorb all the flavors of the sauce, and will become absolutely amazing.
-Making Cioppino! More to come on this, I've got a recipe coming your way soon!
-Making Seafood Soup! Great for any tomato based seafood soup. The orange shrimp color will complement the red tomato color.
-Endless possibilities, just use shrimp stock where any recipe requests for seafood stock!

Seafood, eat food diet for sure!

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