Seafood Stock Recipe
If seafood and shellfish is your thing and you love your gumbo, bouillabaisse or chowder, then making your own seafood stock is a skill you really need to master. Not only will you save time and money, but with our simple yet delicious seafood stock recipe, you can batch make and freeze, meaning you are always ready to whip up a seafood broth delicacy.
Here’s what you need to do to create the most flavorsome seafood stock:
What Is a Seafood Stock?
Making a mixed seafood stock, or a simple lobster or shrimp stock is very similar to making chicken stock and the end result of our recipe tastes amazing and so much better than anything you can buy in the grocery store. Made from the shells, bones, and carcasses of seafood, including shrimp, crab and lobster, the slow boiling and distilling of all those seafood flavors and goodness creates a simple broth or shellfish stock that’s the perfect base for a host of delicious seafood dishes and quick suppers.
Compared to a simple fish stock, which should be almost clear in color and light in aroma, seafood stock has an altogether richer flavor and hue and should be a reddish color, thanks to the shells you will use.
Save Your Shells
A good way to get started is to save your seafood shells and shellfish carcasses every time you cook a fish dish, this way you are not making a one-off expense at the fish counter. These shells and carcasses will have all the flavor you need and can be washed, broken down and easily frozen until you have enough to make a decent amount of seafood stock. And by combining a range of shellfish and seafood in your broth, it means you can use it in any dish that calls for fish, shellfish, crab, shrimp or lobster stock.
Two Key Steps to the Ultimate Seafood Stock
The key to a successful seafood stock is getting all that flavor out of your shellfish and seafood for the ultimate seafood broth. And to do this you need to do two things:
- Roast your shells: Roasting your seafood at 400°F for around 10 minutes before making your stock is going to really enhance the flavor and create a deliciously sweet and caramelized taste, rather than it being overly fishy.
- Boiling: Leaving all your roasted shells and shellfish to boil for enough time is going to pull out all that roasted and amazingly delicious taste out of the shellfish and into your liquid stock.
How to Make Seafood Stock
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 three hours
This recipe makes approximately one liter of seafood stock, which can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for three months.
- 1kg langoustine shells, lobster shells, crab shells and prawn shells (or your preferred mix), broken into pieces (reserve any juices in a container)
- 1 diced onion
- 1 small leek, finely sliced
- 1 celery stick, finely sliced
- 1 small carrot, finely sliced
- 2-4 garlic cloves smashed
- 2 tbsp of tomato purée
- 200ml of white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
Other optional ingredients you could include are fennel, coriander seeds, and parsley. You could also substitute the white wine for brandy or dry sherry.
- Heat half the oil and all of the butter in a large pot and add the shells, along with any retained juice and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring all the time to prevent any sticking. Your aim is to caramelize all the shells so you may need to cook in several batches to ensure all the shells have properly caramelized. Once evenly colored, transfer the shells to a large bowl.
- Turn up the heat on the pan and add 50ml of wine (or brandy) to deglaze the bottom and enable you to scrape up all those delicious leftover bits. Tip all these juices onto your shells.
- Add the remaining oil to your pan and heat up, before tipping in all your chopped vegetables and the garlic cloves. Cook for another 10 minutes to caramelize, stirring all the time to avoid burning, which could make your seafood stock taste bitter. Now add in the tomato puree and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Tip the shells and their juices back into the pot and pour in the remaining wine, and heat to reduce by half. Once the alcohol has reduced, top the pot up with water so the level is about 3cm above the shells and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the top.
- Now it’s time to add in your herbs and spices – sprinkle in the bay leaves, thyme, and any others you want to include, stir well then leave to simmer, uncovered for 2-3 hours. Keep the stock at a steady simmer and skim off any debris you find floating on the top. Season your stock to taste towards the end of the cooking time to prevent the broth from becoming too salty.
- After the allotted simmering time, the basis for your stock should be ready. You now need to sieve the broth to create your final stock. Place a colander over a large bowl and line it with clean cheesecloth or a thin tea towel before slowly pouring your stock into the colander.
- Using the back of a large spoon or ladle, crush the shells and liquid into the cloth lining of the colander to ensure you get every last bit of gorgeous seafood flavor and goodness into your strained stock.
- Remove the colander and dispose of your shellfish – you should now have a richly colored and aromatic stock in the bowl. If it is not quite thick enough, return the liquid to the pan and heat up to reduce to your preferred consistency.
- Allow to cool. If you are not using your seafood stock right away, pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer until you need it.
Related Post: Food Storage Containers
What to Use Your Seafood Stock For
Your seafood stock is now ready to use in a host of delicious dishes, including chowder, stews, soups, and gumbo. Use it straight or you can also adapt your stock ready for cooking in the following ways:
- Add some of your seafood stock to other sauces, for example on pasta, paella or risotto for a whole new level of intense flavor.
- Make a simple lobster sauce by adding some shellfish stock to fresh tomato passata and cayenne pepper.
- Create a glossy fish sauce by reducing your stock down even further – ideally by 80-90% – to a ‘demi-glace’ – which intensifies the flavor to make a rich, thicker sauce as an accompaniment for a larger fish dish.
Your demi-glace can also be frozen into handy cubes, to be ready and waiting for the next time you cook. Simply dissolve a cube into the water to re-create your shellfish stock. Easy and oh-so very delicious!