Stock

How To Make Vegetable Stock



In this video, learn how to make a classic vegetable stock.

Further Information

This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

How to Make Consommé (Clarfied Stock or Broth)



Consommé...the old school Frenchy soup with crystal clarity and robust flavors that dwells in the nightmares of culinary school students around the world. While feared and loathed for it’s finicky nature by young cooks, consommé really isn’t scary once you understand the basic concepts behind making it, and how a clarification raft works.

But before we get into the consommé making process, we first need a little perspective.

Flavor, Stocks, & Broths

As I discussed extensively in the comment section of my braised beef short rib video, making stock at home is important for specific cooking applications due to the gelatin content extracted from bones; something most commercially available stocks lack. Without gelatin you’ll have a tough time making a full pan reduction sauce or glazing braised meat.

This is why traditional stocks are made with collagen rich bones like knuckles, necks and backs. When moisture and heat are applied, the collagen breaks down, yielding the gelatin needed for so many professional level applications.

However, while bones contain a lot of collagen, they’re short on flavor. This usually isn't an issue since most stocks are reduced and reinforced before final use, to add flavor and increase gelatin concentration. Yet for a truly flavorful stock, you need meat, and lots of it.

Enter our quick aside concerning stocks and broths; wars of biblical proportions have been waged on internet forums between people discussing the difference between stock and broth, with the commonly accepted dogma being stock is made from bones, and broth is made from meat.

In reality, broth is a stock that hasn’t been strained before serving, while a stock is strained broth used for a secondary purpose like reduction sauces, braising, or...to make a broth. With consommé, you start with a stock, turn it into a broth by adding a raft, which then becomes a stock again once it's strained, and will then magically turn into a broth once garnished, unless it’s left ungarnished, in which case it remains a stock.

Now say that ten times fast.

The real point is, you need to have an extremely flavorful stock when making consommé because the clarification process will extract both gelatin and flavor. This means, you need a stock made with a good amount of meat, and if it makes you feel any better, you can even call it a broth. Hell, call it a “meat nectar extraction” for all I care, as long as you promise not to make a bland consommé.

If you really want a full flavored consommé, you need to do what’s called a “double stock.” My preferred method is to cut up a whole chicken, bones and all, and make either a white or roasted chicken stock, depending on your desired outcome (this, of course, assumes we're making a chicken consommé). Strain the stock, and then make a new stock, with another whole chicken, using the first stock instead of water. This is a process I also commonly refer to as “reinforcement,” since the flavor is compounded by new meat an aromatics (vegetables, herbs, and spices).

I prefer to still use bones in this double stock, because the gelatin extracted is an important component for overall mouth feel.

Once you have a solid double stock, you can then make a good consommé.

Basic Consommé Ratio

  • 1 qt Stock

  • 2 Egg Whites, whisked until frothy

  • 1/2 # Meat, Ground

  • 5.5 ounces Mirepoix (Carrots, Celery, Onions), ground or cut into a fine julienne.

This ratio expressed in the Baker’s Percentage is:

  • 100% Stock

  • 50% Meat, Ground

  • 5% Egg Whites

  • 15% Mirepoix, Ground or Julienned

  • Herbs and Spices to Taste

The exact recipe used in this video:

  • 4 qt. Chicken Stock

  • 2#s Chicken Meat

  • 1 Celery Stick, (78g)

  • 1 Carrot (167g)

  • 1 Onion (293g)

  • 1 Leek, White Only (96g)

  • 1/2 bn. Tarragon (6g)

  • 1/2 bn. Chervil (4g)

  • 8 Egg Whites (~200g)

  • 2 Cloves (the spice, not garlic)

  • 16 Peppercorns

Understanding The Consommé Raft

How to make consomme raftIt’s important to understand the clarification of a consommé is actually done by egg whites. As the stock is slowly heated, the egg whites start to coagulate, forming a fine mesh screen which works like a built in strainer. As long as you use 5% egg whites in ratio to your stock, and heat it properly, you’ll end up with a clear consommé.

While the large protein aggregates formed by the ground meat do aid in the clarification process, their true purpose, along with all the other ingredients besides the egg whites, is to reinforce the flavor lost during clarification. As the stock gently simmers and percolates up through the clarification raft, particulate matter which would otherwise cloud the consommé is captured, along with flavor a gelatin molecules. Since the meat and aromatic’s main purpose is to add flavor, feel free to swap any ingredients you desire to customize the taste of your finished consommé. The only caveat is, don’t use starchy vegetables like potatoes, which will yield a cloudy end product.

The meat and mirepoix are ground because more surface area equals better flavor extraction, and it makes them easier to suspended in the clarification raft.

The Consommé Process

  1. Whisk egg whites until they begin to froth (about 30 seconds).

  2. Mix in ground meat and mirepoix by hand, along with any other herbs & spices.

  3. Place mixture in the bottom of a sauce pot and cover with cold stock.

  4. Heat stock over high flame, stirring constantly until it reaches 120°F/49°, at which point the raft will begin to float.

  5. Poke a whole in the center of the raft big enough to fit the head of a two ounce ladle.

  6. Bring consommé to a simmer, being careful not to allow it reach to a rolling boil, which will break apart the clarification raft, ruining your consommé.

  7. Once a simmer is achieved, turn heat down to low, and continue to simmer for 60 minutes, while pulling liquid through the center “percolation” hole with a ladle, using it to baste the raft. This will help filter the consommé while keeping the topside of the raft from drying out.

  8. Once the consommé is clear (about 60 minutes), remove from heat.

  9. Gently press down on raft with the bottom of a large ladle, filling it with the clarified liquid, and pass it through a chinois lined with a cheese cloth.

  10. For added clarity, allow consommé to sit in the refrigerator overnight after it’s been strained, which will cause the fat to rise to the top and solidify. The next day, skim off all the fat.

  11. Serve as desired, either chilled or hot, with various garnishes including brunoise and blanched vegetables, dumplings, sausage, meat balls...really anything you like. Don’t forget to season with salt.

  12. In fine dining restaurants, it’s common to compose the garnishes in a wide bowl, and then pour the consommé table side so the guests can appreciate it’s clarity. This same serving technique is demonstrated in our “Composed Cauliflower Soup” video.

Tools Used

Related

Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Cherries and Basil Reduction Sauce



As Spring transitions into Summer, stone fruits start to ripen and make an appearance at local markets. Since stone fruits and pork have an affinity with one-another, it seemed only natural when I went to cook dinner the other night and saw my favorite stone fruit from a local California farm; cherries! I grabbed a pork tenderloin, some fresh basil, a bottle of brandy and was ready to cook.

The great thing about this dish is it's extremely simple, requires few ingredients, but is absolutely delicious. Although I use cherries in this video, you can easily them with your favorite stone fruits such as plums, peaches, and apricots, all of which will play nicely with the basil and brandy.

Ingredients (Serves about 4-6 People)

  • 2 Pork Tenderloins, Excess Fat and Silver Skin Removed

  • Kosher Salt, As Needed

  • Black Pepper, Freshly Ground, Add To Taste

  • 1/2 Tbs Sugar

  • 3/4 Cup Brandy

  • 2 Cups Cherries, Stems and Pits Removed

  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Diced

  • 2 Cups Roasted Chicken Stock

  • 15-20 Fresh Basil Leafs, Half Chiffonade, Half Chopped

  • 1/4 Cup Cooking Oil of Choice (I use peanut oil in this video)

  • 1 Tbl Cold Water whisked together with 1/4 tsp of corn starch

  • 1 Pat Butter

  • 1 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar (or other acid to taste)

  1. Season pork tenderloins liberally on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  2. Place seasoned pork tenderloins in a gallon sized Zip-Loc bag, add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and 3/4 cups brandy. Place Zip-Loc bag in a bowl of cold water, using it to press out all the air in the bag, before sealing the top. This will ensure that the brandy marinade is in constant contact with the pork tenderloins.

  3. Marinade tenderloins for at least one hour, but no more than three. If the meat is in contact with brandy for too long, the alcohol with give the pork a "cooked" texture.

  4. Remove tenderloins from marinade and pat dry on paper towels. Reserve brandy marinade and mix with 1/2 cup cold water.

  5. Sear pork tenderloins in a pan over high heat, using cooking oil of choice (peanut, canola, vegetable oil, etc).

  6. When both sides of the tenderloins are a dark golden brown, remove from pan and allow to rest on a plate.

  7. Immediately add 1/2 yellow onion (diced) to the same pan used for searing the pork tenderloins, scraping the fond on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to release. If the fond doesn't easily release, add a 1/4 cup of warm water and scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously as it evaporates.

  8. Remove pan from flame, add brandy marinade and water mixture, and return pan back to high heat (which will cause the brandy in the pan to ignite).

  9. As soon as the flame from the brandy burns out, add 2 cups pitted cherries and reduce mixture over high flame until the moisture is almost gone.

  10. Add two cups roasted chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and add corn starch slurry.

  11. Place pork tenderloins back into pan, and simmer in the sauce over medium heat until mid rare (internal temp of 130-140ºF/55-60ºC).

  12. Remove pork tenderloins from the pan and set aside. Turn off flame, add chopped basil, 1 pat of butter, and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

  13. Spoon brandied cherry sauce onto a plate, slice pork tenderloin, and serve on top of sauce.

Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Further Information

How to Make White Chicken Stock

In this video, I demonstrate a classic version of white chicken stock. White stocks in general are commonly used for more subtlety flavored sauces, consumes and broths. It is also the base for the French Mother Sauce Veloute.

The technique of blanching bones before making a stock is commonly used in Asian cuisine, where a lot of their recipes favor delicately flavored broths that are hard to achieve with roasted bones and mirepoix.

Related Information



This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

Classic Fish Stock

In this video, we go over how to make a classic version of fish stock. While the process is pretty straight forward, here are some main points to keep in mind:

  • The classic ratio of fish bones to mirepoix is 10:1. So for every ten pounds of fish bones, you'll need one pound of mirepoix (which is a 2:1:1 ratio of onions, celery and carrots, by weight). But like most recipes, feel free to adjust ratios to fit your own personal taste preferences.

  • The mirepoix is steamed with butter and white wine at the bottom of the stock pot to help release their aromas but it will also help prevent the delicate flesh and bones from sticking to the bottom of the pot and scorching.

  • The white wine used for fish stock shouldn't be overly acidic, tannic or oaky. The overall amount of wine used is a matter of taste, but a one cup per every 10 cups of water is a good starting point. However, the white wine isn't critical and can be omitted if desired.

  • Fish stock should only be simmered for 45-60 minutes max to help preserve its delicate flavor.

Futher Resources

This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

Sous Vide (Crispy Skin) Chicken Breast with Spring Vegetables

This video demonstrates how we prepare and cook our sous vide chicken breast that we're currently serving with sauted spring vegetables and a reduced shallot jus.

The chicken breast is first brined for 24 hours in a 5% brine and then rinsed. Next, the chicken breast is vacuum packed individually and cooked sous vide in 60ºC/140ºF water bath for 4 hours. On "the pickup," the chicken breast is cut out of the sous vide package and the skin is pressed into rice flour and then pan fried in chicken fat.

What makes this sous vide chicken breast great, is normally, chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF, which makes it safe to eat but will also dry out the meat. But salmonella and other food born illness can also be killed at 140ºF if held at that temperature for the proper amount of time.

To pasteurize the chicken breast at this temperature, you'll need to wait until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 140ºF and then hold it there for 20 minutes. The breast can also be pasteurize at a "medium rare" internal temp of 136ºF if held there for 30 minutes. Although with an internal temp of 136ºF, the breast meat is still slightly pink which will most likely get the chicken sent back in a restaurant. At an internal temp of 140ºF, the breast is white all the way through but still extremely moist and tender.

The 4 hour cooking time in the circulating bath will ensure that the breast has spent a prolonged period of time at pasteurization temperature, making the breast safe to consume.

Related Techniques

 

This post is part of our ongoing Completed Dish Video Series, which shows you how to combine multiple techniques into a restaurant quality dish. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

Braised Chicken Thighs - Video Recipe



In this video we make a version of Stella Culinary's  most popular recipe, our "World Famous Braised Chicken Thighs." Since a lot of the SC community has already made the original braised chicken thigh recipe, we change it up slightly by using sherry wine instead of balsamic vinegar and fry whole cloves of garlic to make an infused oil instead of using blanched garlic.

If you want to hone your culinary skills over the course of a couple days, buy a few whole chickens and break the chicken down into its separate parts. Use the bones to make a roasted chicken stock which you can then use to braise the thighs. The following day, use the breasts to make a poached chicken roulade. Practice your sauteing technique by serving the roulade with sauted vegetables such as english peas, pearl onions, and/or fava beans. Sauce with a a reinforced chicken stock that's been turned into a pan reduction sauce to round out an epic training session.

Further Information

How to Reinforce and Reduce Chicken Stock | Video


This video will demonstrate how to concentrate roasted chicken stock by reducing and reinforcing its flavors. This concentrated stock can then be used to make "a la minute" sauces, a cornerstone of sauce making during the hauté cuisine movement. Reinforced stocks are still commonly used in high end kitchens today, using reduction to concentrate and thicken a sauce instead of the more classic roux or liason.


Further Information


This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

How To Make Sauce Espagnole

Sauce Epsagnole is one of the Five French Mother Sauces, and is the classical precursor to modern day sauces such as Demi-Glace. It goes great with any sort of roasted red meat, and is the base for many popular classic French Sauces including Sauce Robert and Sauce Bordelaise, (see below).

Before we get into how to make Sauce Espagnole, first, a little clarification about Demi-Glace.

Classical demi glace is one part Brown Sauce (Espagnole) and one part Brown Stock (Such as Roasted Veal Stock), combined in a pot and reduced by half. However, modern day menus that list a “Demi-Glace” as their sauce are usually referring to a stock that has been reduced by at least half, or until it coats the back of a spoon. The gelatin contained in the stock itself is what thickens the sauce. No other thickening agent such as roux is used.

Modern chefs prefer “full reduction” sauces over a classical demi-glace because they have a much more intense flavor, and the classical thickening agent of a roux makes the sauce heavy and effects its taste.

Recipe For Classical Sauce Espagnole (Brown Sauce)

  • Mirepoix: 4 oz/112g onions, 2 oz/56g celery, 2 oz/56g carrots
  • 2 oz/56g butter
  • 2  oz/56g flour
  • 2 oz/56g Tomato Puree
  • Sachet Containing: 1/2 Bay Leaf, 2-3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme, 2-3 Sprigs Parsley
  • 1.5-2 qts/1.5-2L  Roasted Veal Stock
  1. Start by roasting your mirepoix over medium heat, in the bottom of a heavy bottom sauce pot with the butter, until the mirepoix turns a nice golden brown.
  2. Once your mirepoix has browned, add in your tomato puree and continue roasting for 2-3 more minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in your flour, and cook until the flour is well incorporated into the other ingredients (about 5 more minutes).
  4. Add your roasted veal stock and sachet.
  5. Bring to a simmer, and gently simmer for about 2 hours, reducing the entire sauce down to 1qt/L. If necessary, add more stock if too much evaporates during the cooking process. Skim sauce as needed.
  6. Tip: While simmering your sauce, pull it half way off the burner, so that all the scum will collect on one side of the pot, making it easier to skim.
  7. Once your sauce is finished cooking, pass it through a fine chinois a couple of times to insure a smooth, consistent texture.

Secondary Sauces (Derivatives) Made From Espagnole

Classical Demi-Glace

  • Combine Sauce Espagnole and Roasted Veal Stock at the Ratio of 1:1, and reduce by half.
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer (chinois).

Sauce Bordelaise

To yield 1 qt/L combine in a sauce pan:

  • 1 cup/236ml red wine
  • 2 oz/56g chopped shallots
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 a bay leaf

Reduce these ingredients by half, and then stir in 1 qt of demi-glace (see above) and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Strain through a chinois and then finish by swirling in 2 oz of raw butter. Sauce Bordelaise was traditionally garnished with diced bone marrow that had been poached in salted water.

Sauce Robert

To yield 1 qt/L:

  • Sweat 4oz/112g of diced white onion with some butter over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until soft and tender.
  • Deglaze with 1 cup/236ml of dry white wine, and reduce by two-thirds.
  • Add in 1 qt/L of demi glace and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain sauce through a chinois and finish with 2 teaspoons of dry mustard, a pinch of sugar, and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
  • Check seasoning for salt and pepper.

Further Information
 

SCS 3| Stocks Part 2


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In this episode of The Stella Culinary School Podcast, we finish our two part series on culinary stocks.
 

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