Stocks

4 min read

What is Stock?

Stock is a flavorful liquid that is made with bones of meat, poultry, seafood, or can also be made with vegetables. These are simmered in water for its aromatic flavor, aroma, color, and nutritive values can be extracted. With the help of the stocks, we can make soup, sauce, stew, and also braised vegetables. 

Types of Stocks

There are four basic kinds of stocks used in hotels and restaurants,

  1. White Stock
  2. Brown Stock
  3. Vegetable Stock
  4. Fish Stock

White Stock

White stock is made with white meat, veal bones, chicken carcasses, and some vegetables. These bones are put in the water and brought to boil. After the water is brought to boil mirepoix (roughly cut vegetables) is added to the water to develop color. Then the mixture is reduced to simmer and strained and used for sauce, blanquettes, and graves.

Brown Stock

Brown stock is made with red meat like beef, mutton, or pork meat or bones. These bones are roasted till they reach a golden brown color. As the bones are 3/4th red meat as well as mirepoix is added to the bone. As soon as the mixture reaches golden brown color cold water is added in the pot and slowly brought to boil. This stock is used for meat glazes, brown sauces, and braised dishes.

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is a simple stock that is made up of hard vegetables like carrot, potato, leaks, mushroom, and tomato puree.

Fish Stock

Fish stock is basic but it is categorized from others due to its limited usage. As all fish preparation is fumet or fond. But some fish produce better stock than others due to their gelatinous and fishy taste. To make fish stock it is important that the fish should be fresh and the flesh is white.

Few guidelines needed to be followed to make Fish stock

  • Oily fishes should not be used like salmon, mackerel, bluefish, etc.
  • Flounder or lemon sole will work for sole fumet.
  • The complementary juices of oyster, mussel, or clam are added. This liquid should not be reduced.

How to Make Stock

Preparation of White Stock

  • White stock is mostly made of chicken because of its white meat.
  • Cut the bones into medium pieces 
  • Place the bones in a stockpot and add cold water to it.
  • Bring the water to boil so that the scum comes to the surface then remove the scum and simmer the stock.
  • Add some spices, herbs, and mirepoix (roughly cut vegetables).
  • After the stock is simmered it is not supposed to boil again as it won’t lose its flavors.
  • Keep the water level above the bone if water reduces add warm water to it.
  • Total time for preparation: 3-4hrs

Preparation of Brown Stock

  • Brown stock is mostly prepared with beef bones or pork bones as they are hard and won’t get burnt flavor while they are fried.
  • First, fry the bones to golden brown color.
  • Then add spices and herbs to the bones.
  • As the spices and herbs start to pop add mirepoix.
  • When the mirepoix gets brown add water to the stockpot.
  • Keep the stock in simmer throughout the preparation.
  • Total time for preparation: 6-8 hrs

Preparation of Vegetable Stock

  • Vegetable stock is similar to chicken stock.
  • The only difference is we add mirepoix in the very beginning of the preparation of the stock
  • Vegetable stock is commonly used to make clear soups.
  • Total time for preparation: 45-60 mins.

Preparation of Fish Stock

  • This stock is delicate because it absorbs other flavors easily.
  • For fish stock, a fatty fish need to be selected to avoid fatty flavor.
  • First, add the fish bones with a fish head and sauté it with onion.
  • Then add white wine to it for better cooking
  • Add only herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil.
  • Cook the whole stock in simmer to avoid change in flavor.
  • Preparation time for the stock: 30-45 mins.

Preparation From Stocks

There are a few types of liquids that are made with the help of stocks they are,

  1. Broth
  2. Meat glace
  3. Fish glace
  4. Jus
  5. Essences

Broth

Stock and broth are very similar in cooking time. Meat, fish, poultry, and trimming of vegetables are roasted and simmered along with aromatic spices and herbs to produce a clear flavourful liquid. But the major difference between broth and stock is broth is a completed product it can be served as it is but stock is something that needed to add is another product to complete.

Meat Glace

Meat glace is a reduced stock that contains a higher percentage of gelatine in it. It takes 8-12 hrs of preparation. This can be prepared from any stock but need to have a high content of gelatin. This is used for applying on red meat for shining and increasing its taste.

Fish Glace

Fish glace preparation is the same as meat glace but the difference is fish stock is used in this. Fish glace has a strong taste and flavor of fish. That’s the reason it is used in a tiny amount in sauces.

Jus

The term Jus is describing the light, natural liquid derived from drippings of roasts. Because of the natural juices, this is most satisfying of all sauces. Chefs usually use the technique to stimulate the flavor of natural juices.

Essences

Essences are made from vegetables and are used for flavoring sauces. Mostly used essences are mushroom, truffle, and vegetable essence.
Any essence is made by cooking the ingredient in the water at a simmer for 15mins when the liquid is reduced to 1/4th then it is called essence.


Thickening and Binding Agents

Thickening and Binding Agents are used to give body, consistency, and palatability. With this, nutritive value also increases and flavor liquids can be made into sauces, gravies, curries, and soups.

There are various types of thickening and binding agents like,

  1. Flour
  2. Starches
  3. Roux
  4. Fruits and vegetable puree
  5. Egg yolk
  6. Blood

Flour

Flour is the most popular thickener in cooking for centuries. It has been a popular choice for country style and regional dishes. As flour binds with lamb and can hold in suspension with the liquid making it difficult to skim. Which in result it gives muddy texture and flavor.

Starches

Starches are derived from vegetables and roots as they are the most versatile thickeners for sauces. They are inexpensive and when used they don’t impart flavor. When starches are used they are first combined in liquid without lumps then heated in boiling temperature. Mostly used starches are cornstarch, arrow starch, potato starch as these are pure and give a shiny texture to the food.

Roux

The most common method of thickening in continental style cooking is the roux. It is made with an equal weight of butter, and flour. This is used for thickening sauces which are commonly used for pasta. 

Types of roux are,

  1. White roux
  2.  Blonde roux
  3.  Brown roux

Fruits and vegetable puree

Sometimes fruits and vegetables puree are used to thicken soups and gravies.

Egg Yolk

Yolks are the best thickeners as they are base for many sauces. Egg yolk is added to the hot sauces as they set quickly when heated.

Blood

Blood is used in cooking to finish a braised or roasted game, poultry, or rabbit. It will not only deepens the sauce flavor but also act as a thickener. Before adding blood into food vinegar is added into bold to avoid blood from coagulation.


References

Book – Food Production Operations by Oxford University


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