Stock can be simply defined as a liquid which has been simmered for a long time to extract the flavor from ingredients used. In almost all cases, water is the liquid medium used in which flavor is extracted and the same is passed and used accordingly.
Stock is usually made from bones and vegetables. The type of bones used for the stock would depend upon the final usage of the stock and same way, the name is suggested.
Bones are porous and somewhere hard in nature and hence, a prolonged amount of cooking at a lower temperature is the best method of cooking stock.
Vegetables are again soft in nature so prolonged cooking would make the vegetables to go mushy and bitter as well, so it is never advised to simmer vegetables for longer than 45 minutes.
When simmered the impurities from the stock rises to the surface of the liquid and forms a layer of scum floating on top, so it is advised to keep removing the scum from time to time in intervals during the time required to make a particular stock or else stock would get cloudy and termed as cloudy stock. This is the most important part of the stock as this will give a definite characteristic to the stock. A chicken stock simmered with Indian spices would be used only in Indian cooking, chicken stock with Thai flavorings would be used only in Thai dishes.
Similarly, the Western stock would use herbs and other vegetables depending upon the type of stock.
The bunch of herbs used to flavor western stock is termed as ‘bouquet garni’.
Certain spices such as bay leaf, peppercorn and dry thyme are used to spice up the stock and are known as sachet d’epices, Literally means, “bags of spices”.
The stock should be flavored enough to allow it for easy identification but the flavor should not be over powering to mask the real flavor of the stock.
Important terms:
Standard Mire poix:
50% onion/leek*+25% carrot/turnip*+25% celery/celery root* (starred for white stock)
Sachet de’epices:
1 sprig thyme+1 bay leaf+ 3-4 parsley stems+5 gm pepper corns/optional+1 garlic clove (for 4 liters of water)
Bouquet Garni:
1 sprig thyme+ 1 bayleaf+1/6 “ of celery stick+1/6 “ of leeks (for 4 liters of water)
Known as bouillon in French, it is a result of poaching meat or vegetables in a liquid medium.
Court bouillon:
Water boiled with seasoning and flavorings with an acidic medium, such as wine or lemon juice, is called court bouillon.
Neutral stock:
it is usually referred to as a veal stock which is white in color and has a neutral flavor.
fish stock is called fumet in French. Many people confuse it with glaze, which means a reduced fish stock.
it is also known as rewetting of the second stock. When the stock is made and strained off, more water is added to the remaining bones and vegetables and the stock is simmered for around an hour.
Stocks and their uses:
Stock is the base for any western cooking. Most commonly, it is used to make soup and sauces; but the usage is not just limited to this. White stock is used in preparations of white sauces and clear soup, while brown stocks are used in brown sauces, red meat stews, and braised dishes. Stock can also be used to prepare certain rice dishes such as paella and biryanis.
Time Required to make Different Stock:
Emergency stock: boil water and add a stock cube or stock powder and dilute, ready.
Fish Stock: 20 Mints
Vegetable Stock: 45 Mints
Chicken Stock: 4 Hours Mutton/Lamb/Pork stock: 4-6 Hours
Veal/Beef Stock: 6-8 Hours (white or brown)
Storage of stock:
Stock can be chilled in a cold water bath and stored. Stocks are generally used the same day on which they are prepared. Since some stocks might take a longer time to get ready and these stocks are chilled and frozen and then it can be freeze stored at -18/-24 C for almost a month.
Usage of Stocks:
Stocks are used generally in making soups and thickened to form sauces. Some stocks are reduced and used as a glaze to give a shiny appearance on top of certain food items. Some cold foods are also smeared with glaze. Aspic jelly is also made by reduction of stock and is transparent/amber color in nature and different cutouts are made with the help of cutters to garnish certain foods like “chaud froid” and smoked fish which is being served cold.
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