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Old 03-29-2006, 05:47 PM   #1
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The power of a good stock

Here of late (the last 5 years maybe) I have grown to seriously respect the power of good stock.

The casual standard, MaryquaW, [I cant spellit] is just the tip of the ice burg. It's like at least better than water to me.

Generally these days if it calls for "water" in anything I cook, I am looking for the alternative.

I love "super" condensed stock, almost a syrup in sugar terms.

A good stock just gives me tremendous courage.

I have cooked stock adding to it for 4 days to get to flavors that come from nowhere else.
By the time you cook it to that level, you can add it to most anything and it will taste like a skunk on a stump
(Jest kidding)

And a sauciers dream............

These days if I cant START with SOME kind of stock, I just dont even want to cook it.

I am not a professional chef by any stretch of the imagination. Not even remotely close. But I can tell by what I have learned that a true chef takes a good stock very seriously.

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Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #2
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I frequently make my own chicken stock, but have never mastered beef stock. I do have some beef soup bones in the freezer from a friend who has buys his beef on the hoof and has it butchered. They've been in there over a year...I guess I need to get them out and make my broth.
From what I've read, you put them in a roaster pan along with carrots, celery, onions, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, S&P, and dried herbs of your choice, and let the whole thing caramelize. Then you remove the meat and vegies from the pan and put in a stock pot. Put water in the pan, put it on the burner and let come to a boil to deglaze the pan, then add the liquid to the stock-pot along with enough water to cover the bones and vegies, and let simmer for hours. Finally strain, discard bones and vegies, and simmer stock, uncovered, until reduced by half.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #3
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Love to make stock Ham Hock.

It always gives the house a lovely aroma, and the product is great.

Will reduce it to make what the French call glace de viande.

And put those little nuggets in the freezer.

It is tough being a saucier at heart and being a home cook with only two people to feed.

But I enjoy the exercise of making the stock, and the derivative sauces, and we do have some great meals.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:27 PM   #4
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Aunt Dot, anytime we have a ham-bone, we use it for ham'n beans or crowder peas. When we have a whole ham, like at Christmas, there's enough bone for two meals, so I use one and freeze the other.
You're right...I love that aroma...especially when there are onions and garlic in the same pot.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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I appreciate both of you, but please tell me, can you buy the flavor of a real stock?

I just dont think it can be done.

It's not sumthin you can just "buy", at least to me, but I use smoked ham hocks in my stock so much these days that I should just callit "Hock Stock".

My seafood gumbo would be absolutely nothing, without a good stock, absolutely nothing.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:43 PM   #6
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I myself cook them down to almost glaze and then put them up and freeze them in little "cigars" in a baggie, so I can just pop it out and put the "stuff" on something.

I do chicken, pork, and seafood, and use the chicken on almost anything.

But when I cook them I put the stuff that I really like in them like lots of onions and garlic and sometimes some other stuff. No salt. I never salt my broths because I dont want it to challenge the final dish.

I have cooked them out of all KINDS of stuff, my friends ask me what am I cooking, I say FLAVOR for the next thing....

I like them cooked down to almost nothing to store them, it has a flavor unsurpassed and it freezes like a gem.

anyway........

Some people say it's cooking twice, but it aint to ME........
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:04 PM   #7
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Ham, do you ever make vegie stock? Just throw your vegetable scraps in a plastic bag in the freezer, and when you get a big bag full, put them on to boil.
Tops of leeks, the tough ends of asparagus stalks, mushroom stems, the tough outer stalks of celery, and the like are good. Don't use broccoli stalks...they'll give your broth a nasty flavor. Peel and slice those for use in stir-fries. Do add roughly chopped carrots, quartered onions and halved heads of un-peeled garlic, plus fresh or dried herbs of your choice.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:20 PM   #8
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I guess I dont do veggie stocks because I throw away all those things you had in that. (and that is something to think about to me)

Stock is traditionally made of scraps, which is what you are describing.

I am positive it tastes better than just plain water!!!!!!!

I think the whole idea of stock came from just where you point to, but in this day, I dont have to boil anything that has flavor, that I have purchased, to feed myself.

And neither does anyone else unless you live in a 4th world country.

To me, making a stock for something is only the first step to making something really good. It's not the garbage, even though garbage works pretty darn good.

There is an art to boiling good garbage. I just aint got it down.

Sometimes I will spend almost as much to make a good stock for seafood gumbo, as I will spend on the gumbo itself.

To me, stock is the master of the culinary universe, as long as you have one that actually works with whatever it is you want to serve.

Two things rule - pork fat & real good STOCK!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:21 PM   #9
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maryquaw ?? mirepoix?? diced carrots onion celery? ; Spanish call it soffrito often adding tomato and green pepper.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:27 PM   #10
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Yep thats it but since I was a kid that combo was onion garlic bell pepps and celery.

"the cajun Trinity" + garlic

I throw in the carrots most of the time as some sort of sick joke and because they are dirt cheap.

Never tasted one thing done with carrots and thought,

"this flavor just wouldnt be the same without carrots"

I think carrots in this mix is a culinary road sign and respect for our elders who didnt have brown sugar by the ton to their access.

However I will say that a carrot and string bean steamed with onion until all the water is gone and then coated with honey and lemon is fit for a king.
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