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stock pot

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm a novice cook and want to buy a stock pot.

I took a 2 hr course on making stock and the teacher said that, for stock, you don't need an expensive pot. He did reccomend a certain size - a certain number of quarts - but I don't remember how many quarts he said.

Just looking for suggestions.

post #2 of 18
Thicker the bottom the better.
post #3 of 18
Thick bottom is correct, tall as well. As for quarts size? How much stock are you intending to make? For some reason a pound of bones per quart rings a bell. I say that because I remember using approx 80lbs of bones in an 80qt steam kettle. :look:
post #4 of 18
If you're going to be serious about making stock and broth, get a good quality pot, taller than it is wide. Be sure it at least has a heavy bottom. although I like ones with thick sides as well. For home use usually an 8qt to 12qt pot is sufficient, although I've found a 16qt pot to be helpful a few times.

The term "expensive" means different things to different people.

post #5 of 18
A Calphalon 8 quart would probably do you well. If you prefer Stainless, there are a number of 'store brands' at department stores such as Macy's for example.
Another good place to look is TJ Maxx, Marshalls and the other discount stores. Often in their kitchen section, you can find a real bargain on a 'second', but still a good brand.
Stay away from the WallMart thin stainless stuff. It will not make you a happy cook.
post #6 of 18
Walmart often has some decent Tramontina with a thick bottom at good prices.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #7 of 18
If you don't already have one, get one of those four part (pot, deep strainer, shallow strainer, pot, lid). They're excellent for spaghetti; "New England Boiled Dinners;" corn; tamales; "Low Country Boils;" and all that stuff. Get one of these sets first, even if you have to buy an 8 qt. model (but look for a 12 qt. I know they're around). Don't buy too cheap on this; but if you need a bigger stock pot you can buy a very inexpensive stock pot, from Target for instance.

12 qt. is probably what your instructor recommended. It's big enough to handle beef bones, tons of tamales, lobsters, what you will -- but with a diameter of less than 12". A 16 qt stockpot is 13" and you'd be surprised how the extra 1-1/4" will take over you stove. An 8 qt is a little small size for beef and veal stocks, particularly. They're enough of a PITA to make, it's worth making more than a gallon at a time to have and store (if you have the freezer capacity, of course.)

When I actually make beef stock, I use a quart and a cup to make espagnole, (reduces down to a quart), use a cup of the espagnole to make demi, and freeze the rest. I save 2 qts of stock in the refrigerator for soup for soup and sauce making (using a cup of stock to make the demi that day), and freeze the other 2 quarts. The stock disappears pretty fast, actually.

Since I know you're going to ask:


3 tbs butter, divided
1/2 cup onion, medium dice
1/4 cup cup celery, medium dice
1/4 cup carrot, medium dice
1-1/2 tbs flour
1-1/2 tbs tomato paste
5 cups veal or beef stock, divided
1/2 bay leaf
pinch thyme
3 parsley sprigs

Melt half the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix and cook until the celery and carrots are tender, and the onion browned. Add the remaining butter, and as soon as it melts, add the flour. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir the flour, butter and onions together. Continue stirring until the flour begins to take on a caramel color. Push the roux to one side of the pot and add the tomato paste in the center of the pan. Allow it to cook undisturbed for a minute or two. Raise the heat back to medium high and stir the roux and paste together. Keep stirring until the paste's color darkens and it no longer smells raw. Add 1 cup of stock and deglaze the pan. Allow the sauce to come to the boil and whisk to form a smooth, thick paste. Whisk in another cup, and allow to come to a boil, then whisk in the remainder. When the sauce boils, reduce the heat to a simmer. Reduce the sauce slowly by about 25% whisking occasionally. Pick out the bay leaf and strain the sauce through a fine sieve. You may press the juices out of the mirepoix if you desire. Reserve. NOTE: This is a "mother" sauce. It's useful for a lot of things, but lousy on its own. Don't believe me? Taste it.


2 cup espagnole, as above
2 cup beef stock

Combine the espagnole and stock in a pan. Put on a medium-low flame and bring to a simmer. Adjust the flame to hold the simmer, and reduce by 50%, stirring occasionally. Sieve or tamis the sauce when it's reduced. Reserve 1 cup of demi in the refrigerator and freeze the other cup.

Note: These recipes are off the top of my head. That doesn't show what a great memory I have or anything like that. It shows how fundamental both of these sauces are. Worth learning to make? Absolutely.

If you want to make a great sauce for steak: Take your cup of demi, and add 1/2 cup of stock and 1/2 stock of wine, and bring to a simmer and reduce by 25% and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, and whisk in 3 tbs of butter, one at a time; adding the next piece only after the first has been absorbed. This is a variant on the bordelaise sauce, from which I took my screen nic.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
BDL - thanks for the info. I didn't think about the four-part issue; the instructor hadn't mentioned that (or if he had, I missed it).

My interest in the pot has to do with the nutrition that the instructor mentioned. Something about when you create the stock, using meat and vegetables, the nutrients leach out of the food and into the liquid stock.

This is very attractive for me; I can then use that stock and sneak it into other things that I'll make for my kids.

One question: after making stock using, say chicken necks and onions and carrots, is it worth eating the chicken necks and vegetables afterwards, or are they of little nutritional benefit at that point?

post #9 of 18
Multi-pots are another subject. It's nice to have one -- especially for spaghetti.

In the case of chicken stock, no. Just toss them. Watch it with chicken stock, don't over cook it. I find it worthwhile to simmer a whole chicken in a finished stock, or even a partly cooked stock until the chicken is just done (don't boil, don't overcook). It enriches the stock and cooks a nice chicken. If you want vegetables -- strain out the old ones you used to make the soup and cut some fresh ones in an attractive serving pieces and cook in the soup until just done.

When you roast or barbecue whole chickens, get in the habit of saving the carcasses. Roast chicken bones help make a wonderful stock with a depth of taste you don't get otherwise. Also get in the habit of saving backs and wing tips when you break chickens down, then freeze and hold for stocks.

Remember also, stock isn't soup. You want to keep the seasonings and salt very light in stock, then add them later when you use stock to make soup. Stock is just a step on the way.

Try searching "pot au feu" on this site (or just googling) for a classic French soup and meat combination.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I looked at bed, bath and beyond - they seem to have nice stuff but some of it is a bit pricey.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
What happens if you over cook chicken stock?

I'm glad you raised this. I'm not clear on the differences between stock, broth and soup. If you get a chance, could you please explain?
post #12 of 18
We've got a whole thread going on this.

In a nutshell, there's no classic or French difference between "stock" and "broth." So, the discussion is limited to American, and possibly English kitchens -- certainly the English language.

A "stock" stays in the kitchen and is used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as soups and sauces. A "soup" is a finished dish, served at table. A "broth" may be either. Remember the distinction between broth and stock, and between broth and soup is linguistic, definitional, limited to the English language and not consistent in culinary teaching or (necessarily) in professional kitchens. Make of it what you will.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'll figure that something is either a stock or a soup. I like the idea of the broth - something that has a lot of nutritional value that is used as an ingredient in something else.
post #14 of 18
We tend to sell a lot of Aluminium cook pots for stock. They're nothing fancy, just chunky solid pots. There's not really any particular size for stock I don't think, people just buy depending on their needs.
They're relitively cheap (i'm not going to start plugging prices), although as someone else mentioned I suppose it depends what you're comparing them to.

I would definatly discard veg and meat after using for stock. Regardless of nutrition, the whole idea is to transfer all the flavors into the stock, the solids therefore become bland and tasteless.
post #15 of 18
I think you misunderstood the discussion. "Broth" is a word that's used to describe two completely different things. Because it's the same word, doesn't mean the things become the same. Stock has whatever nutritional value it has. With meat, chicken and fish stocks, that's largely protein.

A given stock based soup has whatever nutritional value it has from the stock plus whatever else has been done to make it a soup. In the case of a clear soup -- which is usually what one thinks a "broth" is. That's not very different. Sometimes a little salt only.

Clear soups by themselves are extremely valuable for getting liquid into people who've suffered dehydration, and getting protein into people with dodgy digestive systems. But they certainly aren't the magic bullet of nutrition.

You can make a light, nutritious meal out of a clear soup by simmering a few things in the broth/stock. Mexican cocidos and caldos are perfect examples.

post #16 of 18

Caldo de Pollo Thread


I wrote a recipe and started a caldo de pollo thread for you.

post #17 of 18
I finally saw a Tramontina stock pot. First Tramontina cookware I'd ever seen. Looks to be a reasonable consideration.

post #18 of 18
Well, they are not very useful for cooking, but I know a number of well-regarded chefs and cooks who enjoy nibbling on the spent meat and veggies. I love the warm, used up chicken from making chicken stock. My cat and I often share a plate of chicken meat, and I sometimes toss a little dressing on my share, like a tarragon vinaigrette.

IIRC, Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco,when writing about her technique for making chicken stock, mentions that a she enjoys the same thing as a snack.

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