Ready in: 25 minutes.
Servings: 4 people.
- 4-6 cups shellfish shells, from shrimp, lobster, and/or crab
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly sliced or chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly sliced or chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Several sprigs parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 10-15 whole peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Break thick shells (lobster and crab) into smaller pieces by putting in a sealed, thick plastic bag and either rolling with a rolling pin or hitting with a meat hammer to crush.
- Cut up thinner shrimp shells with a chef's knife.
- Don't crush or cut too small.
- You can even skip this step if you want, if you are already dealing with broken up shell pieces (like cracked crab).
- Put in a large stock pot and cover with an inch (but no more than an inch) of water.
- Put the stove temperature on medium high and slowly heat the shells in the water.
- As soon as you see that little bubbles are starting to come up to the surface, reduce the heat to medium.
- Do not let it boil.
- You want to maintain the temperature at just below a simmer, where the bubbles just occasionally come up to the surface.
- Do not stir the shells.
- Stirring will muddy up the stock.
- As the bubbles come up to the surface a film of foam will develop on the surface.
- Use a large slotted spoon to skim away this foam.
- Let the shells cook like this for about an hour; skim the foam every few minutes.
- The foam comes from shells releasing impurities as their temperature increases.
- Put the thyme, bay leaves, and parsley in cheese cloth.
- Secure with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni.
- Once the stock has stopped releasing foam, you can add the wine, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, herb bouquet garni, and peppercorns.
- Bring to a low simmer and reduce heat so that the stock continues to simmer, but not boil, for 30 minutes.
- If more foam comes to the surface, skim it off. Add salt and remove from heat.
- Dampen a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large, fine mesh strainer, over a large pot or bowl.
- Pour the stock into the strainer.
- Discard the solids. Either use the stock right away, or cool for future use.
- If you aren't going to use in a couple of days, freeze (remember to leave some head room at the top of your freezer container for the liquid to expand as it freezes.)