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Old 10-30-2006, 07:47 AM   #11
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I use one, but rarely bother with the cheesecloth. If I think the ingredients will get lost, I tie 'em up; otherwise I just let them float and remove them with tongs or strainer.

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Old 10-30-2006, 09:02 AM   #12
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The only time I've had to use one was in grade 10 cooking.
We made a turkey dinner, so obviously we had to make a soup afterwards.

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Old 10-30-2006, 09:09 AM   #13
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Well, I just about always always cook with herbs--a different "bouquet" for each dish. If the leaves are soft (like basil), I mince them in my little electric chopper and just toss 'em in and leave them. If I know they will never soften, I use a teaball (for cloves or pepper, etc.) or a wrapping string (for twigs of rosemary or thyme, etc.) so I can fish them out later. Bay leaves are big enough that I can just see them and remove them at the end of cooking.

I'm sorry, I never got into gift-wrapping a "bouquet" in a square of cheesecloth tied with a neat little string. My sister did give me a set of 10 or so of these, very carefully hand-made, for Christmas once!

I think the point of the "bouquet" is that you want the flavor of the herbs without the spikey/prickly/leathery/stringy presence of those that don't cook down to be soft.

Traditionally, by the way, a "bouquet garni" is built around parsley, with other things added according to the dish. There is a long-standing tradition/belief that parsley added to a dish will offset the social effects of garlic or onions. (Hence the fresh parsley garnish so often used, even today.) Don't know if it really works, but there you are!

Edited: You'd want to put everything in cheese cloth if your goal was a perfectly clear broth for a "master sauce" -- but as you can see, most of my cooking is designed to be eaten almost immediately!
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Corey123
I've seen Martha Stewart do it that way on her show From Martha's Kitchen.

The only thing you can be sure with Martha is that if it's done in cheesecloth ... the edges will be cut with pinking shears, and if it's done just with twine, it will be tied with a really, really nice bow!
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:31 AM   #15
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I use ChefJune's method as well - just tying the bunched herb ends with string & tossing it in. Bay leaves go in on their own since, as others have already said, they're easy to find & fish out. As far as peppercorns, I don't find whole peppercorns add a heck of a lot. If I want the taste of black or white pepper, I'll add it ground.
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:27 PM   #16
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I usually do that when I make soup stock, since the liquid has to be strained from the bones anyway.

All of that stuff doesn't get into the strained broth.
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:35 PM   #17
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Corey, same here, it`s rare I`ll wrap them up unless it`s a tomato sauce that I plan on jaring up and downt want bits in it, but it`s too thick to strain.
for the most part though I just throw the whole lot in when I`m doing a stock, the bones and things have to be seperated anyway, I don`t even peel the onions! :)
pepper corns I do add whole also, if you grind them up and simmer for too long, they can make the stock bitter.
Katherine Snow. xx
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:50 PM   #18
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Yes, beef stock is my favorite broth to make!!

The intense flavor comes from it when you roast the bones in the oven first to brown them. When browned, I throw all the roughly-cut unpeeled veggies and garic cloves on top, smear tomato sauce or puree over everything, put the stuff back in the oven for a while longer until the tomato puree starts to brown, then I dump everything into the large stock pot, add enough cold water to the top of the mixture, add spices and herbs and let the stuff come to a rolling boil.

A few tomato wedges go in as well. Then I turn the burner down real low to
gently simmer the stock for about 8 hours or overnight.
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Old 11-04-2006, 02:27 PM   #19
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I strain 95% of my stocks/sauces, so I just throw whatever herbs/spices I'm using directly into the pot. My standard "boquet" is parsley stems, sprigs of thyme, crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. I add them during the last hour of cooking along with whatever aromatics I plan to use (onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, leeks, etc). With sauces such as Bechamel/Veloute where it's only simmered for 45-60min, I add them as soon as the liquids have been incoprorated.

Nick ~ "Egg whites are good for a lot of things; lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators." - MacGyver
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