Cooking Louisiana - Stocks 

Cooking Stocks were and still are used extensively by the French chefs. They went to great pains to make them to use "as is", or, to be reduced to use in sauces. If you want to make your own stock it's not very difficult, it just takes time.

Chicken Stock (white)

1 hen or chicken (whole) [A hen has a richer flavor]
1 onion quartered
2 carrots cut big
2 stalks celery cut big
2 bay leaves
4 whole toes of garlic peeled
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt

In a stock pot put the hen in and add enough water to cover the hen about 2 inches. I like a hen because it has a different flavor than a fryer. Add remainder of ingredients. Boil until hen/chicken is done. Hens can take as long as 4 hours to boil, chickens usually take about an hour. It's done when the meat starts to fall off the bone. Don't overdo it, you'll have bones all over the place. Take the bird out, lower the fire and slow boil the remaining juices for a few hours to reduce it by about 1/3.

Brown Chicken Stock (good for gumbo)

You can make a darker richer tasting stock by de-boning the chicken after it's done and roasting the bones in the oven about an hour at 425F. You can do this while reducing the stock. Watch the color of the bones, you want them nice and brown, not black! Return the bones to the simmering stock and continue to boil about an hour. 

Another method would be using bones from a de-boned chicken. Crack the big bones with some clean garden shears; this exposes the marrow. Follow the instructions above.

Beef/Pork/Veal Stock

Use all the same ingredients except the hen [naturally]. Rib bones make good stock. You can also roast the bones as you did with the chicken stock.

Seafood Stock

Seafood stock can be made using shrimp shells or fish bones again using the same method above (don't roast the shells!). This will always be a white stock.

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Some folks add all kinds of seasonings to their stocks. I don't because if I'm not sure which dish the stock will be used in. I choose to control the flavors when I do the dish.

After all the cooking is done just strain the liquid, let it cool and use it or freeze it in zip-locks. 

You notice I used little salt. Salt can always be added to the dish you are using the stock for. If you decide to reduce the stock further to use in a sauce you don't want excessive salt in it because as the liquid cooks off the salt remains.

Bullion cubes and grinds have salt in them. If you use more than the recommended number of cubes per cup of liquid be sure to taste it before you add salt.

Stocks are the beginning of Sauces and you can get stock reductions (already made) that the famous restaurants use.... this is a little known secret.....want to investigate?  Read more...

 

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