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A Stocks Characteristics

A stock is a flavorful liquid made by gently simmering bones or vegetables in a liquid to extract their flavor, aroma, color, body, and nutritive value. When bones, vegetables, flavorings, and aromatic ingredients are combined in the proper ratio and simmered for an adequate amount of time, the stock develops a characteristic that is peculiar to a stock type.

 Brown stocks achieve their deep rich color and aroma when bones and meat are browned during preliminary roasting process. White stocks are made from un-browned bones and remain relatively clear and should not have a strong color. The color of vegetable stock depends upon the type of vegetables and the amounts used.

 A stock should taste definite enough to allow for ready identification but not strong enough to compete with the other ingredients used in a finished dish. Fish stock, chicken stock, and brown stock tend to have more assertive flavors. A white veal stock in considered "neutral" in flavor and can be used as a "universal" stock.

Types of Stock

 White Stock is a clear and almost colorless liquid made by simmering poultry, beef, or fish bones with herbs and spices in water to extract the water-soluble proteins that provide flavor and body.

Brown Stock is an amber liquid made by first browning poultry, beef, veal, or game bones with herbs, spices and vegetables.

Fumet is a flavored stock made with fish bones. The stock is made by using the sweating method. The vegetables are slowly cooked before the bones and liquid are added.

Court Bouillon is an aromatic vegetable broth that includes wine or vinegar. Court bouillon is most commonly used for poaching fish. It may also be used to cook vegetables especially those that will be served or marinated.

Essence is the same as fumet but uses highly aromatic products such as celery or mushrooms.

Glace is reduced stock. As a result of continued reduction, the stock acquires a jellylike or syrupy consistency and its flavor becomes highly concentrated. Glaces serve as a sauce base or are used to enhance other foods. They are made from different stocks.

Remouillage is a stock made from bones that have already been used. The second stock is not as strong as the first batch. It is usually reduced to make a glace. Remouillage may also replace water in the making of stock.

Broth or Bouillon is the liquid that results from simmering meats. Bouillon is simply the french term for broth. The base liquid is often a stock. Bouillon may be used as a soup or base for stews and braises.

Uses of Stock

 The three major uses of stocks are:



Major Flavoring Ingredients. The major flavoring ingredients are usually bones and trimmings for meat or fish stocks. Vegetables are used for vegetable essences and court bouillon. The bones may be used fresh or frozen.

Bones should be cut into 3-inch lengths for quicker and more thorough extraction of flavor, gelatin, and nutritive value. Most bones may be purchased pre-cut into proper length. Chicken and fish bones can be cut with a heavy knife or cleaver.

The vegetables for a vegetable stock or court bouillon should be prepared according to type. Mushrooms should be trimmed and wiped to remove dirt. Celery should be trimmed and rinsed and the tomatoes should be peeled and seeded.

Liquid. Water is the most frequently used liquid for making stock. Remouillage is the best choice for the most richly flavored stock. Wine may also be used. * The liquid should be cold when combined with the bones and vegetables. The ratio of liquid to flavoring ingredient is important and should be followed for the best results.

For chicken, beef, veal, and game stock 8 pounds of bones to 6 quarts of water yield 1 gallon of stock. One pound of mirepoix is required.

For fish/shellfish stock or fumet stock 11 pounds of bones or shells to 5 quarts of water and 1 pound of mirepoix yield 1 gallon. For this type of stock a white mirepoix is sometimes used to reduce color. Mushrooms trimmings, onions and celery are most generally used as white mirepoix.

For vegetable essences there are no exact ratios since vegetables do not all have the same intensity of flavor. About 1 pound of vegetables is required to properly flavor 1 quart of water.

Mirepoix. Celery, onions, and carrots are most often used. Mirepoix is a vegetable flavoring used in making stock. The vegetables should be trimmed and cut into a size that will allow for good flavoring extraction. Fish fumet and court bouillons should have mirepoix that has been cut small. Stocks that will simmer for over 2 hours may use a large cut mirepoix. A combination of chopped aromatic vegetables, customarily onion, carrot, and celery, a mirepoix is used to flavor stocks, soups, braises, and stews. The basic ratio of ingredients is two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery, by weight. Because mirepoix is not usually eaten, the vegetables, except the onions, do not have to be peeled.

The size of the cut will depend on how the mirepoix is to be used. With preparations with short cooking times, such as fish fumet, the mirepoix should be sliced or chopped small. For preparations with more than an hour of cooking time, such as a brown stock, the vegetables may be cut into larger pieces or even left whole.

Other ingredients may be added to the mirepoix, depending on the need of certain recipes. Leeks are often used in place of all or part of the onion. Other root vegetables, such as parsnips, may be used in addition to, or in place of, carrots. Bacon and ham are also sometimes included. Two mirepoix variations are white mirepoix and matignon.

White Mirepoix replaces carrots with parsnips, additional onions and leeks, and occasionally includes chopped mushrooms or mushroom trimmings. It is used for pale or white stocks, sauces and fish fumet.

Matignon is edible mirepoix, intended to be served as part of the finished dish. The vegetables are peeled and cut into uniform dice. Diced ham is also used to enhance flavor. The ratio in the matignon is two parts carrot, one part celery, one part leek, one part onion, one part mushroom and various herbs and spices.

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