Monday, June 14, 2010

White Stock

Learning is a never ending process. Education should not be limited into the four corners of the classroom, even after earning the highest degree people still needs to learn new ways and methods to be updated with our fast pace changing technologies, equipment, fashion, tools and even with food.

Long ago people would settle for comfort food, an inexpensive, uncomplicated and easy to prepare dishes. The evolution of food has drastically change, it started way back during the 17th century when chef and writer La Varenne marked a change from cookery known in the Middle Ages, to somewhat lighter dishes and more modern presentation which is called the Haute Cuisine a French term literally means "high cooking". In 1900's Chef Georges Auguste Escoffier modernized the Haute Cuisine which became known as Cuisine Classique. Then there's Nouvelle Cuisine [noo-vehl kwee-ZEENe] a French term meaning "new cooking" referring to a culinary style that moved away from the rich and heavy style of classic French cuisine toward fresher, lighter food served in smaller portion. Now we have Fusion Cuisine it combines the elements of various traditions while not fitting specifically into any. In years to come, another evolution would emerge, whatever cuisine that would be it will surely be a challenge to equip ourselves.

After graduating from Culinary Arts two years ago, what's next? My dream is to have a mini restaurant, something cozy and elegant but affordable. Uhm...elegant and affordable would that be possible? Anyways, before waiting for that dream to come true, I mentioned earlier that learning is a continuing process, so I enrolled in Rouxbe [roo-bee] an online cooking school, they deliver a professional culinary school curriculum in high definition, close-up video together with professional chef support, practice video recipes and assesstment tools. What's more is that you can study at your own schedule and at your pace and watch the video as many times as you want.

In any culinary school the first thing that they will teach you is how to select, handle and care for your chef knives. I went through it the second time when I enrolled at Rouxbe. You can choose whatever lesson you want to learn, but I prefer to start with the basic...White Stock.

A Stock is a simple flavorful liquid made with various ingredients simmered in water. The key ingredient to making a stock is to start with cold water, fresh ingredients, simmer a period of time, scheme off impurities and strain. Stocks can be use in many dishes particularly soups and sauces, it can also be use in cooking rice like Paella and Rissoto instead of using water to give full flavor to the dish.

To make the stock start by washing the fresh bones with fresh water then cover it with cold water (this promotes the extraction of collagen, which may be sealed in by hot water) until an inch or two, turn the heat to medium keep the pot uncovered and slowly keep the bones to a simmer, scheming the impurities every now and then.

After the stock has been simmered for 2 hours and impurities has been scheme off add the mirepoix [mi-re-pwa] a french name for a combination of onion, carrot and celery, sometimes leeks can also be added. Simmer the stock for 1 and a half hour. The ratio between the bones and mirepoix is three part bones and one part mirepoix. Once the stock returns to it simmer scheme off excess impurities as needed. Chicken stock need to be simmered for 3 to 4 hours to extract the flavor.

About 30 minutes or so before the cooking time add the seasoning component of the stock which is the Bouquet Garni, french for "garnished bouquet", it is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with strings. A common bouquet garni for a stock consist of flat parsley, thyme, bay leaf, celery leaves and whole peppercorns, these usually puts at the end of cooking time since a less time is needed to extract the flavor, you can either add it loosely or tied it into a bundle.

Once the stock is finish cooking, scheme it one last time before straining then remove all the ingredients using a strainer, discard all the solids since all the flavor are in the liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, for an even clearer stock place a cheesecloth on top of the sieve. Cool the stock as quickly as possible before storing, the fastest and safest way to cool down the stock is to place it in an ice bath and stir while bringing down the temperature. Do not refrigerate before completely cooling as bacteria can be trap inside and multiply as it becomes cold making it unsafe to consume.

Stocks can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days and can be freeze well for months. Don't forget to label it for easy reference.

By His Grace,

1 comment:

sheena Ong said...

hokey, it's lunch time and ive seen ur blog,c'mon, c'mon, ur blog also teaches the readers italian words ;) im not into cooking, but im an eater, and when i say, an eater, well, u get what i mean right. but i can say that ur right on ur view, that learning shouldn't stop when u receive ur diploma, it's a never ending journey. and i f i may add, one should master one's craft, skillfully, do it, and ur going to ur destination God deigned for u, and as for u, ur in a prime of ur craft being a chef, ^_* im pleased ur not afraid to try out new things, in a world where everything runs so fast, ur arming yoself with the knowledge u need, if education is expensive, try ignorance ;))