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On the sin of boiling stock


ChrisTaylor
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I've been told that bringing stock to the boil is a Bad Idea. That all the fat and shit, it gets churned back into the stock and you end up with a sad, cloudly thing. But what if I clarify it first? Can I then boil with abandon if I want to reduce it quickly? Is there any reason, even then, to reduce it with a slow simmer as opposed to a rolling boil?

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Once you have strained and defatted, there is no problem with boiling (especially for general home use). Lots of people do a very strong reduction for storage purposes (easier to store an ice cube than a quart).

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Hi,

The problem is not only the fats in your stockpot when you begin.

Much of the fats, impurities and scum appear in your stock during the simmer. The volume drops considerable after the first 30 minutes, or son but fats continue to appear in your stock during the simmer phase.

Tim

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Yeah. I get that. But I'm looking at a beef stock that is finished. As I type this, it's in the fridge, in the form of a frozen block, straining through a (clean) towel and strainer, Hestonstyle, into a plastic tub. I don't want to boil it while it's still 'cooking'. I want to take ~2L of beefy liquid and turn it into 500mL--or possibly even less--of concentrated bovine essence. It'd be really nice if I wasn't going to ruin the quality of this (which, once I'm done fiddling with it, will have involved a lot of work) stock by boiling it during the reduction phase.

What I'm actually doing is taking a modified version of Escoffier's brown stock (based on beef shin and, in a deviation from his recipe, pork neck bones) and then clarifying it. Then using that as a base for his oxtail soup. The liquid will be clarified and then reduced until I have just enough soup to pour into shotglasses--the idea being a very rich, very intense, very beefy soup. And then I'll add the meat from the oxtail meat back in.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I recently was making a duck terrine, and to make up for a slipped schedule I had accelerate parts of the stock process. No time to cool and de-fat the stock before reducing, so I strained it twice (several layers of cheesecloth the second time) and vigorously reduced it to about 1/4 original volume, let it cool slightly, then clarified by the egg white method, reduced the rest of the way and after a final straining through cheesecloth again I had a perfectly clear, 100% defatted duck glace ready to mix into a panade. Downside: some loss of product from egg white clarifying and all that cheesecloth. But it works.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Not the question I thought you'd be asking.

I made a rough stock overnight with the bones and scraps from a leg of lamb I grilled yesterday. Despite my best efforts, it came to a fairly steady boil on a few occasions, including when I checked it first thing this morning, so it likely had been boiling for a few hours at least. And indeed, the resultant stock was cloudy. But, I figured - so what? I'm not making lamb consomme, and this stuff tasted really good. Makes sense - the fat and the bits of solids that can cloud stock will contain a lot of flavor.

Anybody deliberately disregard the prohibition against boiling when making stock?

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I think it depends on what kind of stock and what you are going to do with it. I boil the crap out of most of my stock after refrigerating it overnight. I reduce it to a syrup which turns into a block of frigging rubber when I put it in the fridge. It lasts forever that way. That said, I do think there are consequences to using a rapid boil and also to reducing it that far. You change the flavor somewhat. I don't find it very noticeable in beef or veal stock but I think it is easily noticed in chicken stock.

Where it does matter is if you intend to reconstitute the chicken stock to use in a very simple dish such as homemade chicken noodle soup. It's not going to taste bad at all but it will have lost some of that pure chicken and fresh aromatic goodness that makes a simple chicken soup so radically good.

For sauces I don't think it matters at all and in fact personally think boiling the crap out of the stock improves it for sauces because you do seem to get some Maillard type reactions going on and it does seem to improve it in that way. For any kind of soup or dish where the chicken stock is just added for more of a foundation or background flavor, or where it is going to be cooked for a long time, I don't think it matters at all.

If you were planning to use it for a very simple chicken soup or a similar type dish where the chicken stock alone is really most if not all of the flavor, then I wouldn't reduce it that far and I wouldn't boil it so vigorously to reduce. My personal experience has been that reducing it by a third or half is the most I would do for that purpose. Either that or when I reconstituted it, I would simmer it for an hour with some fresh aromatics and some ground chicken to get back what you lost or changed in flavor.

Lastly, the only thing I am addressing is taste and not any cloudiness issues. Beyond washing or roasting the bones and skimming for the first hour, I don't care enough about any slight cloudiness to pay attention to it.

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I've been told that bringing stock to the boil is a Bad Idea. That all the fat and shit, it gets churned back into the stock and you end up with a sad, cloudly thing. But what if I clarify it first? Can I then boil with abandon if I want to reduce it quickly? Is there any reason, even then, to reduce it with a slow simmer as opposed to a rolling boil?

Boiling as I understand it is a Bad Idea when making the initial stock but you're now at another stage in the process. I've just had a look at a Heston recipe for lamb jelly with cuc salad (crystal clear set consommé, page 98 Heston Blumenthal at Home) to see what he does with the recipe's initial 1.6 kg of lamb stock. After ice filtration the stock is boiled until it is reduced to 500g before the addition of the gelatin etc. So it looks like it can be reduced on a high heat (i.e. boiled) after the filtration stage.

Belgian Blue

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I'm a little confused by the boiling ban when I saw the MC method of making chicken stock. (It is the most amazing chicken stock I've ever had!) It cooks in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes. That's more than at a boil! But it is not very cloudy. What gives? (By the way I put a couple ounces in a shot glass in put it in the fridge and in 1 and a 1/2 hours it was like jello.)

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What I can say after making Heston's beef stock is that after ice filtration it is very close to being a very beautiful full-bodied consommé. It was so good I drank it straight from the glass. The 'mother' was made in a Kuhn rikon Duromatic p1030652uh.jpg

And as for his fish stock, this alone made buying the book worthwhile.

Belgian Blue

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