I call him at work, but I hesitate to ask. He always gets mad at me. (And this is a man who does not get mad… unless I push him, of course)

“Honey, uuhhh, could I ask you youuu…”

I stutter. I stop. I really don’t want to get into a fight.

“Yeah, sweetie?” he asks in a voice that my mother calls mellifluous.

“I need you to pick up a can of chicken stock on your way home.” Whew. I said it. Now to wait out a response.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he says curtly and hangs up.

These are our foodie fights. I sigh and make a batch of rosemary/garlic popcorn for me and the baby.

Inevitably, Jamie comes home at 6 o’clock, happy, smiling and with a big grocery bag bulging with carrot tops and celery stalks. The requested can of chicken stock? It’s nowhere to be found, of course. After 6 years together, I’m finally learning that asking a Jamie to buy chicken stock is like asking Martha Stewart who did her curtains.

Chefs make their own stock and swear by its intense, recipe-transforming flavor. From years of watching the Barefoot Contessa, I should know that jars of homemade stock need to be lined and stacked in my freezer, awaiting any dish that needs a little wet and a lot of flavor.

Stock making is easy–especially with Jamie’s fool-proof recipe! Just set aside 30 minutes for chopping and then let it simmer away on the stove while you watch a little Bravo. Make this stock and taste the difference.

Stock Basics
Mire Poix– for chicken or veal stock. Use approximately 2 cups of mire poix per pound of bones. Mire poix should be roughly chopped.
2 parts onion
1 part carrot
1 part celery
Making the Stock

Rinse bones under cold water. Bones may be roasted in the oven, if desired.
Place the bones and mire poix in a large pot on the stove and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Turn the heat to high and bring the pot a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
In a separate pan, sauté mire poix in vegetable oil or butter. Mire poix may be lightly colored or ‘sweat’ for lighter stocks or deeply caramelized with tomato paste for deeper, richer stocks.
When the pot of bones reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the sauté mire poix. OR mire poix may be added raw at this point for a lighter stock.
Simmer stock to develop flavor and body. Skim occasionally while the stock simmers.

Stock Cooking times:

Fish/Shellfish: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Chicken: 4-8 hours
Veal: 12-24 hours

When stock is finished cooking, strain and cool immediately. If keeping in the refigerator more than 1 week, remove the stock from the refrigerator and return to a boil every 7 days or store in the freezer up to 6 months

(The split chicken breasts kinda looks like a heart, doesn’t it?? Happy Valentine’s Day from our kitchen to yours!)