Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making Brown Chicken Stock - From Scratch

Making stock is a simple but time consuming process. Most home cook took a look at recipes and got taunted by the hours or the number of steps they see where the supermarket shelves have ready made one so readily available at cheap price.

Somehow i feel its better to make your own stock. No MSG, no preservative, better flavour to suit your taste and its cost effective if u debone some chicken and don't know what to do with the bones.

First of all what u need is Mirepox.

- Onion (Use white onion if you are making white stock)
- Carrot (For brown stock)/ Parsnip (for white stock)
- Celery (For brown stock)/ Celeriac (for white stock)

Ratio 2:1:1

Then u need to prepare Bouquet Garni. Bouquet garni is a mix of herbs tied together and into the stock to flavour the stock. I love to use Leek, thyme, parsley and bay leaf then throw in a bulb of garlic too.

The steps i have over here might not be the ones found in recipe books. In recipe books they want you to roast your mirepox and bones in the oven till nicely browned. However it might not be cost effective for home cook.

In a restaurant setting, oven is turn on in the day and off at night. They do stock in quantity that would take a home cook months and months to finish using.

For home cook, it would be troublesome and not envriomentally friendly just to preheat the oven and roast some mirepox and bones.

What you could do is to use your saute pan to grill it. With just a drizzle of olive oil. (but i use butter)
Grill it over high heat till its almost burnt. This will obtain maximum flavour.

Then for the bones, same thing is applied.

Take note, this is not burned, u need that maillard reaction (not caramelization) to produce a flavourful stock.
And also the flavourful bits stuck on the pan, deglaze it with some water or white wine.

Throw everything into a stock pot and fill it up with water. Let it simmer (do not boil) for 4-6h. Carefully strain it and there you go. You can store in in chiller for 4-7 day or freeze it for 2-3 month.

And take note, no salt is added. Salt is added only when you are using the stock for cooking.

What i do is to portion out in ziplock bag and freeze it. so i can just defrost it in the microwave as and when i want it.

What to do after 2-3 month when you can't finish your stock? for me, i won't throw it away. It will not spoil in freezer, just loses its intensity and flavour. What i will do is to do a new batch of stock and add the old frozen one into it pot together and create a new batch of stock.

Its no rocket science and not really hard work. Just time consuming. But you won't need to do it every time if u make a big batch :)

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