Basic stock making is important because a chef relies on them to produce soups, sauces, gravies, and stews. Making stock is a great way to use up trimmings and scraps from your garden’s harvest.
Broths and stocks are very similar. The techniques for both are identical. The difference is that broths have a more pronounced flavor than stocks as the base is usually meat whereas stocks are based on bones. Broths therefore lack body due to the lack of gelatin from the bones. Vegetable broths and stocks are basically the same as only veggies are used.
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven (Avoid aluminum as may cloud stock)
- Large spoon or ladle
- Fine meshed sieve
Stock is a rich liquid obtained by slowly simmering meat bones, scraps, seasonings and veggies in water, skimming off the fat and straining the liquid. Can refrigerate for several weeks or freeze. Just skim and bring to a boil before use.
Can be made two ways:
- White Stocks – White stocks are made by combining white meats and bones and veggies in the stock pot with water.
- Brown Stocks – Brown stocks are made by first browning or roasting the meats and bones and veggies first for a more flavorful stock with a rich mahogany color. They are usually made with beef or veal.
- Meats – Used to make stocks can later be used for stuffing’s and hashes. Use uncooked meats and bones for more flavors. Also, be sure to use same amount of meat and bones or may become syrupy due to gelatin in the bones.
- Fish Stock – Made with bones and shrimp or crab shells, some wine added to water and classic mirepoix.
- Veggie Stock – Can be made either by combining veggies with water directly or for a hearty flavored stock, try browning veggies in some oil first or just roast in oven. One can make the traditional Mirepoix (1 part diced carrots, 1 part diced celery with leaves and 2 parts diced onion) or just use trimmings from your own veggies.
Avoid using starchy veggies like potatoes as they may sour the stock or cloud the liquid. Strong flavored veggies such as turnips, cauliflower and cabbage can be overwhelming.
Also add one of two seasoning combos to the stock:
- Bouquet garni – 2-3 sprigs parsley, thyme, and bay leaf and maybe marjoram.
- Sachet d’epices – 2-3 sprigs parsley and thyme, ½ tsp. cracked pepper, bay leaf and 1 garlic clove
The more you reduce the stock the stronger the flavor and make great addition to sauces and gravies.
Broths are intended to be served “as is” whereas stocks are used in the prep of other dishes. They are based on meats rather than bones and have a more pronounced flavor.
The meats used to make the broth can be used for other dishes if cooked till fully tender.
Veggie and fish broths and stocks are really the same because ingredients are the same. One can be creative with veggie broth with the addition of tomatoes, lemon grass, mushrooms, or ginger.
After straining broth to serve as is, may be garnished with julienne meats, fish, croutons, wontons, noodles or rice.
Add seasonings toward the end of cooking.