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Sweating Bones or Shells. Bones or shell are used in fumets. The proteins present in fish bones and shellfish can take on an unacceptable flavor if allowed to cook to long. Sweating is a procedure that starts flavor release quickly. The stock can e cooked in less than 45 minutes, with full extraction of body and flavor.

1. Heat a small amount of oil or clarified butter in a rondeau.

2. Add the bones or shells and mirepoix.

3. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the flesh on the bones turns opaque, or the shells have a bright color, and the moisture is released from the mirepoix.


Basic Preparation Method

Although the ingredients may vary the basic preparation for making stock is the same. Once the major flavor ingredients have undergone any preliminary steps such as blanching, sweating, or browning, all stocks, essences, fumets, and court bouillons are prepared the same way.

1. Combine the major flavoring ingredients with cold liquids and bring to a simmer. The stock will throw scum to the surface as it begins to cook. This should be skimmed away as necessary throughout the simmering time to develop a clear stock with good flavor.

2. Add the mirepoix and aromatics at the appropriate point.

Add them at the start of cooking time for stocks, fumets, essences, and court bouillons simmered for less than an 1 hour.

Add them for the last hour of cooking time for stocks simmered for less than 1 hour.

3. Simmer for appropriate time. Developing a good flavor, aroma, color, and body.

4. Drain the stock through a sieve or colander into an appropriate container for cooling. A stock's clarity is better preserved if the major flavoring ingredients and mirepoix are disturbed as little as possible. If the pot does not have a spigot, ladle the stock from the pot rather than pouring it through a sieve. This is much safer because it is less likely to spill or splash hot liquid. Disregard the bones and aromatics.

5. Cool the stock in a cold water bath. Stirring from time to time helps the stock cool more rapidly.

6. Store the stock in containers that are easy to handle to avoid injury from weight. Remove any fat from the surface after the stock has cooled. The fat will harden and form a protective seal. When the stock is to be used , the fat can easily be lifted away and disregarded.


Evaluating Quality

A good stock is evaluated by flavor, color, aroma, and clarity.

Flavor. If the correct procedure and ratio of bones, mirepoix, and aromatics to liquids has been followed, the flavor should be well balanced, rich, and full-bodied. The major flavor ingredients should dominate; for example chicken stock should taste like chicken. The flavors of the mirepoix and aromatics should be pleasant. All stock should be tested for taste before reuse. To test a stock for freshness, heat a little in a pan and taste.

Color. White stocks and fish fumet should have a very light color that turns translucent. Brown stocks are a deep amber or brown because of the roasting process.

Aroma. The aroma should be appealing but not over pungent. When stock is reboiled it should be tested for sour taste and smell.

Clarity. Most stock, with the exception of vegetable essences and fish fume, should be almost crystal clear when hot. This is maintained by proper simmering. Never allow the stock to boil continuously, and also skim the stock during the cooking process. Skimming removes the impurities that are traped by the coagulated albumen that rises to the top during the cooking process. If the stock must be absolutely clear, it is possible to clarify it by combining 1 gallon of cold stock with four beaten egg whites, then bringing the stock to a simmer. The egg whites, which will trap the impurities, are skimmed away. This procedure should only be used only when absolutely necessary, because it will weaken the flavor by trapping some of the elements that contribute to that flavor.

Chicken Stock

Yield: 1 gallon
Chicken bones, cut into 3-inch lengths
Cold water or remouillage
Standard sachet d' epices
8 pounds
6 quarts
1 pound

1. Rinse the bones, blanch them if they are frozen.

2. Combine the bones and water.

3. Bring them slowly to a boil.

4. Skim the surface, as necessary.

5. Simmer the stock for 5 hours.

6. Add mirepoix and sachet d' epices. simmer additional 1 to 2 hours.

7. Strain and cool.


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