Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stocks are to cooking what foundations are to a house - Escoffier

Auguste Escoffier tells us how important stocks are to the basis of French cuisine. Little did I know how complex stocks (fonds) can be and so many types!

In class last night we tackled the following: Fond de volaille blanc (white chicken stock), Fumet de poisson (fish stock), Fond de veau brun (brown veal stock) and Marmite (white beef broth with blackened onions).

We went to work at an extremely fast pace – preparing four stocks in 5 hours. We prepped mire poix (traditionally a mixture of onions, carrots and sometimes celery) bouquet garni and bouquet aromatique for the stocks, learned how to work and clean the bones, simmer and skim, and finally ladle the stocks using a chinois and some cheesecloth to strain any impurities.

The result of all this careful work produces a clear or transparent liquid, flavored with the essence of its ingredients and is heady with aroma. Stocks are the building blocks of classic French sauces or sauces mères (mother sauces) that can be adapted into a variety of other sauces.

I ladled the chicken stock, after it simmered for over 2 hours, through a chinois that drained into a container. The stock must be chilled down very quickly if you are not going to use it right away so the container sat in an ice water bath where I continued to vanner (stir to cool down). The golden color was beautiful and aroma was delicate yet defined. I was proud of this stock – my first ever actually.


Lisa P said...

I am really enjoying this blog. Please keep us updated... I admire you for going for it! It's like reading a better version of the book "Julie and Julia" (have you read it?)

Anthony said...

Lisa, I haven't but I will have to look it up - thanks for the support!