Stock (food)

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For other uses, see Stock (disambiguation).
Making stock in a pot on a stove top.

Stock is a flavoured water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.

Preparation[edit]

Traditionally stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water. A newer approach is to use a pressure cooker. The ingredients may include some or all of the following:

Meat
Leftover cooked meat, such as that remaining on poultry carcasses, is often used along with the bones of the bird or joint. Fresh meat makes a superior stock and cuts rich in connective tissue such as shin or shoulder of beef or veal are commonly recommended, either alone or added in lower proportions to the remains of cooked poultry to provide a richer and fresher-tasting stock. Quantities recommended are in the ratio of 1 part fresh meat to 2 parts water. Pork, although a popular base for stock in Chinese cuisine is considered unsuitable for stock in European cooking due to its greasiness (although 19th century recipes for consomme and traditional aspic included slices of mild ham) and mutton was traditionally avoided due to the difficulty of avoiding the strong tallowy taint imparted from the fat.
Bones 
Veal, beef, and chicken bones are most commonly used. The flavour of the stock comes from the cartilage and connective tissue in the bones. Connective tissue has collagen in it, which gets converted into gelatin that thickens the liquid. Stock made from bones needs to be simmered for longer than stock made from meat. Pressure cooking methods shorten the time necessary to extract the flavour from the bones.
Mirepoix
Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots, celery, and sometimes other vegetables. Often, the less desirable parts of the vegetables that may not otherwise be eaten (such as carrot skins and celery ends) are used. The use of these parts is highly dependent upon the chef, as many do not appreciate the flavours that these portions impart.
Herbs and spices
The herbs and spices used depend on availability and local traditions. In classical cuisine, the use of a bouquet garni (or bag of herbs) consisting of parsley, bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and possibly other herbs, is common. This is often placed in a sachet to make it easier to remove once the stock is cooked.

Today, ready-made stock and stock cubes consisting of dried, compressed stock ingredients are readily available. These are commonly known as bouillon cubes, as cooking base in the US, or as Oxo cubes in Britain, after a common brand of stock cube sold there.

Comparison with broth[edit]

The difference between broth and stock is one of both cultural and colloquial terminology but certain definitions prevail. Stock is the thin liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients: solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly flavoured liquid. This yields classic stock as made from beef, veal, chicken, fish and vegetables.

Broth differs in that it is a basic soup where the solid pieces of flavouring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches such as rice, barley or pulses.

Traditionally, broth contained some form of meat or fish; however, nowadays it is acceptable to refer to a strictly vegetable soup as a broth.[1][2][3]

Types[edit]

Pouring fish stock on a stuffed fish

Preparing stock[edit]

A few basic rules are commonly prescribed for preparing stock:

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spaull, Susan; Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne (2003). Leith's Techniques Bible. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 38 Soho Square, London W1D 3 HB: Bloomsbury. p. 683. ISBN 0-7475-6046-3. 
  2. ^ Barham, Peter (2001). The Science of Cooking. Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. p. 127. ISBN 3-540-67466-7. 
  3. ^ Smith, Delia (1992). Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course. BBC Enterprises Ltd., Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane, London W12 0TT: BBC Books. p. 61. ISBN 0-563-36286-3.