Friday, October 15, 2010

Stock - as a basis of good cooking

It is often called for stock in so many recipes. As a soup base, or for risotto, also for creation of delicate fragrant sauce. It is absolutely simple to make it, the taste will be rich and harmonious, and you will completely forget about the stock cubes with synthetic

There are different stocks, made of  chicken, fish, veal, beef, vegetables, mushroom. Pork and other meats stocks are usually made only as a basis for a particular soup (for example in traditional Ukrainian cuisine, see Borsch), but not as  a common ingredient on a kitchen, because other kinds of meat  have too intense flavor to act as a neutral basis.

If bones and vegetables  are roasted before making a stock out of them, then the stock is called brown stock - if not, then it is white stock.
 Today I will give an example of my basic white chicken stock. Every cook has its own. You can change the proportions to your taste or add some additional ingredients. Just do not overdo with the carrots, they make stock sweet and that is not always desirable.

 My version is:

For 10 liters pot:

1 chicken (or  1,5 - 2 kg of bones, carcasses, legs)
2 onions
1 stalk of leek
1 large carrot
100 gr. celery root (can be replaced by stalks)
1 tsp salt

Bouquet garni (basic):
1 bay leaf
5 grains of black pepper
3 sprigs thyme (You can lose and replace some of your favorite herbs)
3 large parsley stems (stems and not leaves, leaves tend to make stock darker)

1)Wash chicken thoroughly, cut it into pieces. Wash and peel vegetables. Cut carrots, onions and leeks in half. Wash herbs.
2) If you are not sure in Your chicken quality, do this:
Place chicken parts in a pot, cover with cold water so that its completely covered, bring to a boil, then drain. Rinse chicken again, and wash the pot properly.  And follow the rest of the instructions in the recipe.
If You are sure of good quality of Your chicken,  then skip this step (like me).
3) Put chicken in a 10 liter pot. Add leek, carrot, 1 onion, salt and bouquet garni. Can you it up or place it loosely, stock has to be strained anyway.
4) Heat up a dry pan over high heat, do not add any fat. Put 2 halves of onions cut  side down, and fry. Onion must be literally burnt.  

This will give golden color to Your stock. When the onion is ready, put it in the pan to the other ingredients.
 5) Fill the pot with cold water. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a minimum, so the stock just gently simmers.

6) Regularly remove submerging  scum and filth with a skimmer and  fat with a spoon. Cook for 2-3 hours. This is sufficient time to dissolve chicken collagen into the water. That is exactly what gives body to the stock and makes it reach. 1 hour is not enough for this.

So here are the main NOTs of  making stock:

1) Do NOT cover it with a lid while cooking!
2) Do NOT let it boil! (Stock will taste bitter and becomes cloudy)
3) Do NOT  stir! (You will disturb impurities and cloud the stock)

7) When the stock is ready, cool it as soon as possible. (If you made stock from whole chicken, rather than bones, leave meat to cool along in the stock and then remove it. So the meat will soak a little bit of fluid and will be juicier). Strain stock through a fine sieve, you can also place a layer of gauze over it, for better result.

8) Divide stock into portions, leave the required amount in the fridge and freeze the rest.
Stock stays fresh in fridge for 2-3 days and 3 months in the freezer.

Good luck!

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