Homemade Shrimp Stock
Just about any dish is better when cooked with a rich stock instead of water. It's simple to make, easy to freeze and adds a flavor foundation that will elevate the entire dish.Print Pin Rate
Servings: 12 Cups
Here's What You Need
- 2 to 3 quarts shrimp shells with heads Shells and heads from approximately 3 to 5 pounds of shrimp
- ¼ cup margarine or butter
- 1 large onion quartered
- 5 or 6 stalks Celery with leaves
- 2 heads garlic sliced in half
- 1 bunch parsley tied together
- 30 peppercorns in spice bag
- 6 quarts cold water
Herb and Spice Blend-Tied in a Bouguet Garni
- 1 ounce fresh thyme
- 1 ounce fresh basil
- 1 ounce fresh oregano
- 2 bay leaves
Here's What You Do
Prepare the Ingredients
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (See Notes)
- Place the margarine or butter in a pyrex measuring cup and melt in microwave.
- Spread shrimp shells and heads in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. (Use two baking sheets if necessary).
- Pour melted margarine over the shells and mix together so some margarine gets on all the shells.
- Place baking sheets in preheated oven and let roast for about 20 minutes.
- Quarter the yellow onion. Chop the celery into short pieces. Tie the herbs together in a Bouquet Garni and tie the bunch of parsley together. Place peppercorns in a small spice bag.
Make the Stock
- Remove the shells from the oven and add them and the resulting juice into a large stock pot. (If using two baking dishes, place shells from one in the stock pot, then add vegetables before adding remaining shells)
- Add all the cut vegetables, parsley, garlic, Bouquet Garni and pepper to the stock pot and mix together with shells.
- Add the cold water, the shells should be completely covered in water by about an inch.
- Place the stock pot over high heat and bring it up just to a boil.
- Immediately reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep things mixed up.
- From time to time, skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Try not to stir that back into the stock because that will cause the stock to be cloudy.
- Remove the cover completely and maintain a very low simmer for about 1 hour until the liquid has reduced it to about half of its original volume.
- Turn off the heat and allow the stock to cool so it will be easier to handle and the flavors continue to blend.
- Place a strainer or colander over a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, place the solids into the strainer and allow to drain.
- Continue this until all the solids have been removed from the stock pot.
- Discard all the solids and return the drained stock back into the stockpot.
- Place some cheese cloth in the strainer or colander, or use a very fine mesh strainer, and pour the liquid through to remove any remaining solids.
- This can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
- If the stock will not be used within a couple of days, place the strained stock in freezer containers, label and freeze for up to six months.
Roasting the shells prior to making the stock intensifies the flavor. You could forgo the roasting stage and simply saute the shells and heads in the stockpot with margarine as the first step. I think roasting brings out more flavor, but you get basically the same result. Maintaining the lowest simmer possible will help produce a less cloudy stock. Also, skim off any impurities that form on the surface and try not to stir those into the liquid. Not having a large batch of shrimp? Just freeze whatever shells and heads you do have when you peel shrimp, even if it's just a half pound. When you have saved enough in the freezer, make your stock! I used to throw in bell pepper, but I have stopped doing that because the pepper gets very mushy while simmering and can cloud up the stock while not adding much flavor. Use fresh herbs if you can. If you tie them together using butcher twine it will be easier to pull them out when you're done. If you are using dry herbs, place those, along with the peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag. Bundling your herbs and spices like this is called Bouquet Garni and here's how to make one. I never add salt when making stock. Remember the stock is an ingredient in your final dish...so wait and salt the final dish to your liking. If the stock is salty, the final dish may end up too salty.
Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 963IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg