This luxurious and umami-packed seafood stock can be made with your leftover shellfish shells and will take any seafood dish up a notch!
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Heat half the oil in a large stockpot or large deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shellfish shells and offcuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until shells turn red and caramelise. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the stockpot. Cook onion, fennel, celery, carrot and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 mins or until vegetables soften and are beginning to caramelise. Return seafood shells to the pan with the sherry. Cook for 3-4 mins or until sherry reduces by half. Add the water, bay leaves, parsley and thyme.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until reduced by a third, skimming any scum from the surface. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Smart swap: Instead of adding onions to the stock, substitute with leeks or shallots.
This is the best seafood stock recipe and it’s easier than you think. Once you’ve made it, you’ll be using it in every recipe that calls for seafood stock, like stews, soups and paellas. It brings an incredible depth and richness to even the simplest of dishes. In this recipe, seafood stock is made from any shells that you can get your hands on from shellfish, such as prawn, crab, mussels and clams. The rich umami flavour that comes from these shells is well-balanced with aromatics like onion, fennel and garlic, and the bay leaves, thyme and parsley bring a freshness that’s laced with notes of pepper and citrus. Once you make a batch, you can freeze portions of it for later use.
Only include the shells, not the innards of the shellfish. The innards can introduce an unpleasant bitterness and cloudiness to the stock.
If you’re not thinking of making the stock today, a way to get a good collection of shells is to remember to freeze and keep them everytime you cook.
The shells need to be pan fried in oil first before you add them to the stockpot to release their umami flavour. If you prefer not to do this on the stove, roast them for around 10 minutes at 200°C.
The stock should just simmer, not boil, throughout the cooking process. Boiling can cause the stock to become cloudy and bitter.
Avoid stirring the stock while it is cooking, as this can make it cloudy.
Remember to use a large spoon to scoop out the foam that forms on the top of the stock.
If you don’t want to use wine, replace with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water.
You can use the stock for any dishes that have seafood in them, like chowder, gumbo, étouffée, paella, soup, stew, bisque, homemade seafood sauce, risotto or curry. You can also poach seafood in the stock to infuse it with extra flavour.
If you want to make the stock ahead of time, cool the stock down completely before transferring it to an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 days.
To freeze, cool the stock down completely, then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for 4 hours. Remove the stock cubes and place into a freezer-safe resealable bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Use this recipe to be a master at stock making and elevate any seafood recipe with this glorious seafood stock. You can use it to make gumbo and seafood risotto. If you’re after a non-seafood stock, try this recipe for Courtney Roulston’s master stock chicken with ginger and spring onion relish.