Stocks and Sauces 101
Dress for the job
Stocks and Sauces
As a food lover, you must realize the importance of stocks and sauces. They add much need nutrients, flavor and moisture to some foods. And to some extent stocks or sauces can make or break a dish. Although stocks and sauces are rather simple, they are very easy to ruin when not done properly.
Fond is French for stock. Fond means bottom, ground or basis. Since the 16th century stocks have been the basis used in soup and sauce preparation. Stocks are simply the extraction of flavor from ingredients using a liquid as a base. The ingredients can include bones, vegetables, herbs and spices simmered in water.
Creating a great stock is time consuming and lengthy. Great care must be given when creating a stock and the process takes time. By simmering the ingredients you will allow extraction of the flavor as well as reduction in volume. The reduction will concentrate the flavor of the stock even more.
With World War II came the invention of ready made base for stocks but these bases are high in sodium and lack the true flavor of making your own stock. But if you must go with a store bought or ready made stock try to go with the best quality and less sodium remember the stock is the BASE or fondation of your dish. You wouldn't want a weak foundation under your house!
Componenets of the Stock
A stock is composed of these four elements :
- norishing element
- bouquet garni
This is the main or most important componant to the stock. The job of the norshing element is to provide flavor, nutrients, color and in some cases gelatin. Noursing elements include.
- Fresh Bones
- Meat/ meat trimmings
- Fish/ fish trimmings
A mirepoix is a mixture of dice vegetables that are used to add flavor nutrients and color to the stock. There only there vegetables used in a stock a given time:
- Carrots (excluded in white stocks)
- Leeks (Included in white stocks)
A bouquet garni is a aromatics that are added to the liquid or tied in a sachet. A standard bouquet garni includes thyme leaves, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, and parsley stems.
The bulk of the stock obviously will be the liquid. The liquid used should be cold, which will allow for maximum ectraction of flavor. The liquids commonly used in a stock are either water or a remouillage. In french remouillage means re-wt. A remouillage is like a really weak stock made from solid ingredients that are left over after a stock has been strained.
Making a great stock
Always start with a cold liquid for a slow release or flavor and to prevent cloudiness.
Albumin is a protein that is soluble only in cold water, found in muscles blood and leeks. Albumin clarifies stocks by coagulating with impurities. By gently simmering your stock you allow the albumin to do its ob.
Skim the Skum! Simple! The french call it depouiller which means skim the fat, scum or impurities.
Maintain Proper Temperature
To allow proper clarification and fortification the stock should simmer.Simmer requires the liquid to be between 185 -200 degrees Fahrenheit