Stocks or bouillons are the foundation of many important kitchen preparations; therefore the greatest possible care should be taken in their production.
Stock is not an end in itself – it is always used to make some other dish or as a basis for sauces. A stock is the liquid obtained from long, gentle simmering of bones, vegetables, seasonings and water (except fish stock which only requires 20 minutes). The liquid, strained and reduced down to concentrate its flavour by rapid boiling, is the basis of soups, stews, braises and sauces.
In cooking stock, the prime essential is patience. Classic cookbooks recommend cooking veal stock for 10-12 hours. Three hours will suffice for chicken stock and fish stock is completed relatively quickly in half an hour.
During the cooking process, all the flavour should have been extracted from the bones and vegetables, leaving them tasteless. As well as flavour, good stock should acquire body from bone marrow and when chilled it will set to a jelly.
LE FONDS – THE STOCKS
Stocks, which are clear, flavoured liquids, are the foundation of many kitchen preparations. Therefore the greatest possible care should be taken with them.
– Unsound meat or bones and decaying vegetables should not be used
- Scum should be removed continuously so that it does not boil back into the stock
- The pot should be skimmed regularly and only simmer gently
- Do not add turnip, potato or other items that will cloud stock
- Always keep the inside of the pot clean and free of grease and scum
– Keep stock in clean containers in the refrigerator or freezer to avoid souring
GENERAL PROPORTIONS OF INGREDIENTS FOR ALL STOCKS EXCEPT FISH
5 liters water
2 kg raw bones
500g vegetables (onion, carrot, celery leek)
Bouquet garni including thyme, bay leaf, parsley stalks
GENERAL METHOD FOR ALL BROWN STOCKS
Chop the bones, remove any skin or fat and brown well on all sides by placing in a roasting pan in the oven.
Drain off any fat and place the bones in a stockpot.
Brown any sediment that may be in the bottom of the tray, déglace (swill out) with boiling water, simmer for a few minutes and add to the bones.
Wash, peel and roughly cut the vegetables. Fry in a little fat (from the roasting tray) until well browned but not burnt. This will improve the colour of the stock. Add to the bones.
Add the cold water. Bring to the boil and skim. Then add the bouquet garni.
Simmer for 6-8 hours wiping the inside of the pot continually to remove impurities. Skim and strain.
NOTE: For brown stocks, a few tomatoes and washed mushroom trimmings may also be added to improve flavour.
BROWN VEAL STOCK
For brown veal stock, use the same ingredients as for the chicken stock, substituting veal bones for the chicken. Place 2-2,5kg veal bones in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until well browned, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables and brown them also, about 15-20 minutes longer. Thorough browning gives stock flavour and colour. Transfer the vegetables and bones to the stockpot. Discard the fat from the pan and deglaze with 500ml water. Add the liquid to the pot, then make the stock. Add the garlic, 1 chopped tomato or 1 tablespoon tomato puree, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Simmer for 6-8 hours.
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