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Cook Your Catch: Shellfish Stock

Transform your soups, stews and more with this easy-to-make culinary staple. 

Next to the garage, the kitchen may be the ideal setting for today’s ardent DIYer. Sure, the tools may look a little different, but at the end of the day, both venues celebrate the spirit of invention.

Like any worthwhile do-it-yourself endeavor, cooking is foundational. If your goal is to create memorable dishes for family and friends, you need to start with good ingredients, and in many recipes the essential building block is an honest-to-goodness homemade stock.

For this Mercury Cook Your Catch installment, veteran outdoorsman Blaine Garrett demonstrates how he makes a simple, yet balanced seafood stock that can be stored in the freezer for whenever the culinary itch needs scratching.


  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 4 cups shellfish shells (shrimp, crab or lobster)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 to 15 peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


Get started by heating up your water in a large pot over medium heat. Then, add your seafood shells, stirring lightly to ensure they’re covered in water. You can use shrimp, crab or lobster shells, or a combination of the three.

After allowing the shells to simmer for about an hour over medium heat, add the onions, carrot, celery, tomato paste, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and white wine. Give all your ingredients a quick stir and let everything simmer together for 30 minutes.

When the timer goes off, it’s time to scoop out as many of the ingredients as possible. To strain out the smaller ingredients, place two layers of cheesecloth over the top of a mesh strainer or colander on top of a bowl and pour the stock through the strainer.

The next step is to prepare it for the freezer. To do this, put a freezer bag into a jar, which helps keep the bag upright. Then carefully scoop the stock into the bag with a mug or ladle, seal the bag and store it flat in the freezer until it is frozen solid. Once the stock is frozen, you can stand the bags up straight for more efficient storage.

Now the only thing left to do is figure out what delicious dish you will create with your wonderful homemade seafood stock. Enjoy!

For more great recipes by some of the world’s foremost anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, search “Cook Your Catch” in the Mercury Dockline Blog.

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