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Old 11-10-2008, 08:46 AM   #11
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Larry, if you are not opposed to MSG, a little bit might help give your veggie stock what it is missing.

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Old 11-10-2008, 09:34 AM   #12
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Larry, I find veggie stocks are bland anyway you go about it usually. Try this, with veggie or any stock. Before you use it in any recipe reheat it and throw in a bay leaf, fresh thyme, and season with salt, pepper, worcestershire and tobasco sauce all to taste. Your stock should taste great after that. For white stocks you don't need the last 2, but dark stocks are always helped by them I find.

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Old 11-11-2008, 08:23 AM   #13
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At home, I make my own chicken stock, beef stock, and shrimp stock. I pour the strained, reduced stock into ice cube trays and freeze.

At work, I started making shrimp stock on a regular basis several months ago, as I needed it for some sauces, and my Sous Chef would always use it for whatever he needs. I've now taken to making veggie stock, a couple gallons at a time. I've been using it as a "universal" flavor base for all sorts of soups and sauces. If I need au jus in a hurry, I bring some of this veggie stock up to a boil, add some some beef base, and a little minced fresh rosemary. Chicken-flavored soups and sauces will get veggie stock, chicken base, and maybe some sage.

Larry, I find that caramelizing the veggies before adding the liquids helps with the flavor immensely. Since I'm using about 10 - 15 lbs of veggies, and I'm not using the tilt skillet to do this, I start by caramelizing just a fraction of the veggies. I cook them until they are deeply caramelized, and there is a LOT of fond in the pan. Dump in the remainder of the veggies, hit it with some white wine (about a cup), then water to cover, and maybe enough to go 3 - 4" over the veggies. I use classic mirepoix, some whole garlic cloves, and if I have them, a leek, roughly chopped. If I'm making the veggie stock, I'm not adverse to adding tomato scraps, asparagus scraps, broccoli scraps, squash scraps, etc. I usually do not use bell peppers in stock, as they add a bitter taste.

I find that just by caramelizing, the resulting stock tastes great, once it's seasoned with some salt. The smell is intoxicating.

I've also noticed that in the past 6 months, I've become the de facto Saucier at work. My Chef is alway coming up to me and asking me to make sauces for parties, as well as the sauces I need on my line.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
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I only use chicken & vegetable stock in my cooking. If I have the time &/or am in the mood, I make my own. However, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever using commercial brands. In fact, I ALWAYS have several cartons of Swanson's Chicken Broth (regular - the organic is too bland) in my pantry to use in recipes & even for a quick microwaved pick-me-up on a chilly day. I find it very tasty, & with just the very lightest touch of salt - unlike other brands that are either overly salty or totally bland.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. If you don't like to or feel like making your own stocks there are perfectly reputable commercial brands out there, with new ones appearing all the time. Just find one you like ingredient-wise & taste-wise.
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:57 PM   #15
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I've never seen powdered stock eitehr.

When I don't have my own in the freezer I use Minor's base or Swansons broth.

Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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