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Taking Stock – Learn to Make Your Own Stock

 

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“Worries go down better with soup than without.” (A Jewish proverb)

I love winter’s crisp-cold air and the way the sunlight casts shadows. I enjoy the long dark nights and I especially love to cook during the winter months. I hunker down in my kitchens and bring long cooked soups and stews together with aromatic herbs, dried mushrooms and root vegetables

I notice my customer’s habits changing as well. Suddenly everyone is actually hungry. Summers dainty and delicate appetites are replaced with something a bit heartier. I really look forward to soups, making them and eating them. They remind me of my favorite sweater taken out from summer storage, cozy and familiar, like an old friend.

I teach cooking classes all over the country and am often asked how to make the perfect  broth and stock.

Here are some definitions.

Stock-is a liquid base from which soups and sauces are made. Stock is made by simmering bones and sometimes meat with mirepoix (aromatic vegetables) and herbs and spices.

Broth-is an already flavored stock or water with vegetables and sometimes starch added to make it more substantial. Many prepared stocks contain flavor enhancers.

Bouillon-In French means broth, it is broth simmered with vegetables, herbs, and sometimes meat or poultry.

Bouillon cubes- are made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt, and seasonings and shaping them into a small cube. Dehydrated broth is also available in granular form. Bouillon cubes are convenient but have little nutritive value since they mostly contain flavor enhancers from monosodium glutamate or yeast extract.

Stock is the backbone of every delicious soup. Sure, you can make a soup with water or canned broth, but you will not have the richness of flavor and mouth feel. As a professional chef and mother of three, I like to make my own stocks not only for reasons of attaining superior flavor, but also I like to know what exactly is in my soup. Every ingredient in the soup is in my control and I know that when I serve my family and clients, I am giving them a delicious and nutritious gift from my heart.

I make soup with a technique called Ad Hoc cooking. It means “for this.” What I mean by ad hoc is that I start out with the intent to make a great soup. Each ingredient is thought out and has a purpose. Many people make stock with “a little of this and a little of that” mentality. While you will end with stock, it will not have a defined flavor and texture. I tell my staff that stock should be made just as carefully as a sauce or braised dish. That means technique as well as love goes into the pot! I do not throw leftovers into a pot hoping for a great end-product. I start with carefully chosen ingredients and then add some touches usually in the form of garnishes.

So here you are my three favorite stock recipes. All should be kept in your freezer ready to go at all times to enhance everything you make.

Vegetable Stock

Veal Stock

Chicken Stock

Fish Stock

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About Chef Laura Frankel

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I am a chef, restauranteur, cookbook author and mother, you can find out more about me on my blog: ChefLaurasKosher.com

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