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Old 03-03-2008, 04:31 AM   #1
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Reccomend a good stock (UK)

Hello - new here

I am a big fan of soup (thin and clear soups) and whilst certainly no chef, I have been making my own for several years.

One soup I adore is minestrone - but I can't ever get it to taste quite so good as is often found in various Italian restaurants, the good ones all have the same zip to them that mine sadly does not.

I have tried countless recipes but that doesn't work so I am confident it must be the stock.

So my question is, is there a good quality stock out there that I do not know of? I have tried to make my own on a few occasions but it really didn't help and was probably worse :D

Stock recommendations welcome!


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Old 03-03-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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I really like the Knorr stocks. You can also get "fresh" stock in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
Resturants will make their own stock, different in each one, so any bought stock will not match.
It may be that they all use another ingrdient not generally found in any recipe.

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Old 03-07-2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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What did you make your stock with? If it was not bones, then what you made was more of a broth, and would have less ability to carry flavors.

Also, when you make stock (or broth for that matter), you should start with cold water, up to the top of the ingredients, and gently bring it to a simmer, and leave barely bubbling for an hour or two. Keep replacing the evaporated water with hot water so you don't get exposed ingredients.

Once this is done and you have removed the bones and aromatic veggies, plus whatever else, you can reduce the stock further to intensify the flavor.

And if you start with bones that have been roasted, you will get a different flavor, but I don't think that would match well with the minestrone, as you should be aiming a "fresher" flavor.

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Old 03-07-2008, 04:42 PM   #4
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Minestrone isn't usually made with a stock, but rather by seasoning the soup with fresh flavors.

Here is something you might try. It will bring a bright flavor to the soup.
Combine 3/4 lb. of ground beef with 1/4 lb. of Italian Sausage. Brown in your soup pot, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking. Add 1 sliced onion, 2 stalks sliced celery, 2 mined cloves of fresh garlic, and about 2 tbs. fresh parsley. Simmer with the onion begins to sweat. Add 15 oz. diced tomato and 1 quart (4 cups water). Add 1 cup elbow macaroni and bring to a boil. Cook for about 8 minutes and test the pasta. It should be al-dente, firm but not crunchy. At this time, add salt to taste and 1 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper. Add 2 tbs. or fresh, minced basil, along with 1 tsp. dried oregano. A sprig of rosemary will also brighten the flavor, but remove it before serving. Also, different olive oils have different flavors. So find a brand that is to your liking and add a bit to the soup. Don't fry with Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it burns easily. Rather, add it to the soup to enhance the other flavors.

The seasonings are approximate and so may need adjusting, as I'm typing this from memory. But by using unseasoned, diced tomato, and fresh ingredients, you will find a brightness, a kind of intensity that can't be obtained with ready-made broths and dried seasonings.

Just remember a couple of things. Herbs like oregano, parsley, and basil, are very aromatic, and volatile, and so are best added in the final 15 minutes or so of cooking so that the oils don't all evaporate into the air, but still ahve time to permeate the soup. The fresher the ingredients, the better, and more controllable are the flavors they impart. When adding flavoring ingredients, i.e. herbs, spices, flavored oils, etc., you can always add more. But once they are in the soup, you can't remove them, so go lightly.

The rest is a bit of trial and error. You will get the flavor you want. Don't rely on a pre-made broth or stock. Rely instead on the amalgamation of flavors that come from the fresh ingredients you use.

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Old 03-17-2008, 09:57 PM   #5
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I have to agree - stock is a "base" or a "foundation" for the soup - not a "zip" component.

What kind of "zip"? Sometimes - a little "zip" is added at the end by adding a spritz of lemon juice ... not enough to identify by taste, but enough to notice if it's there - or miss if it's not.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:20 PM   #6
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Oh gosh, I hate to go here, but what the heck.

Have taken heat before.

Try a bit of MSG, yep, monosodium glutamate, Accent is one source but it is a bit dear. If you can find the generic stuff at another market, Asian markets always have it, go for it.

If it adds the zip you like great. You can always try it once and lose the jar.

Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes - then you are a mile away and you have his shoes!
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