Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Why add aromatics to base stock if you're going to add aromatics for a recipe, later?


torolover
 Share

Recommended Posts

Why do you need to add aromatics, such as onion, carrots, leeks, when making the first Chicken Stock, if your going to add aromatics later for a recipe anyway?

 

For example for braising meats, recipes will ask you to pour stock over the meat, add MORE aromatics, and braise for 3 or 4 hours.  Why does the first stock need aromatics then?

 

Another example is for making a sauce, recipes will ask a stock to be boiled with wine and MORE aromatics until it gets thick.

 

Is there any benefit to adding aromatics when making a first stock?

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It gives you a foundation of brighter flavors, so you don't have to add a full complement of aromatics with each sauce. When making a sauce I like being able to add just some basics, like shallot, and maybe some parsley to brighten it up at the end, or something that will be an accent flavor (thyme, etc.).

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stocks were originally developed in restaurant settings where a single stock would be made in industrial sized quantities and used for multiple recipes within a single cuisine. People have adapted stocks for home use wholesale, without examining the difference in context. Personally, I find the use of traditional French stock in a dish gives it that kind of restaurant style sami-ness that I find unpleasant.

Instead, I make my stocks with meat, onions & garlic only to produce a neutral flavored stock that's adaptable to a wide range of circumstances (If I have other alliums like leek greens, I will throw those in as well). I find it rare that I want the rounded mirepoix flavor of a traditional French stock in a dish, instead, I far prefer to amplify the already existing flavors of the dish. For example, if I'm making a pumpkin soup, I'll simmer the pumpkin guts in the stock before straining and adding to the dish. If I'm making a corn soup, I'll simmer corn husks briefly.

I've also been experimenting with moving away from stocks. Some dishes, I actually find water more appropriate or white wine or vermouth bloomed with gelatin. Other times, I'll figure out if there's a way to extract liquids intrinsic in the dish

For example, I made a meatloaf today where I first microwaved whole mushrooms covered for 10 minutes to extract their moisture, then chopped and squeezed the mushrooms to pull out more moisture before sauteing. For the mirepoix, I used a food processor to chop to deliberately break as much of the cell structure as possible, then salted and let the mirepoix sit for 10 minutes. The liquids squeezed from the mirepoix was combined with the mushroom juices and yielded about 3 cups of liquid. About 1 cup was used to moisten the meatloaf and the other 2 cups were turned into a gravy with flour, butter, vermouth, gelatin, anchovy paste and black pepper.

Not only did this process halve the time required to saute the vegetables since you didn't have to wait for all of that liquid to evaporate off, the resulting gravy was clean and bold with a distinct mushroom flavor.

Another technique I've been experimenting with is starting ground beef in a cold pan and cooking it over medium heat until it's grey and soupy, then pouring it into a strainer and letting the liquid drain out before adding it back to a hot pan over high heat. The meat ends up much better browned and the leftover cup of liquid is defatted and used in place of a stock when deglazing the pan.

Edited by Shalmanese (log)
  • Like 3

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great discussion about Stocks guys!  Makes sense Shalmanese!

 

I'm curious about this because I've been reading high end Cookbooks like French Laundry.  Thomas Keller's stocks often have onions, carrots, leeks, thyme and parsley in them.  Lots of his recipes say to add stock over meat,  add new onions, garlic, carrots, leeks, thyme and parsley, and braise or reduce to make a sauce.  I was wondering if there was a purpose of boiling the same aromatics twice since it seems repetitive.  Thomas Keller is meticulous about his instructions and a master, so I'm just curious.

 

I'm also thinking of making a big batch of stock with just chicken and water.  That way if I decide to make Asian food, I can simply boil the stock with Asian aromatics.  If I make French Food, I will use French aromatics.  I won't need to make a separate French Chicken stock or Asian Chicken stock in the beginning. 

 

In Ivan Ramen's recipe for his famous soup, he uses chicken stock from just water and chicken, and then he adds Sofrito right before eating. This is interesting to me because he doesn't even boil aromatics for his soup!  I guess the sofrito has enough flavor to make the soup interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes, it's for a deeper, more complex flavor. That said, I have been mostly doing single flavor stocks (just chicken and water, or onion and water) in the past few years and really like the clean, identifiable flavors.

I would also think it adds more depth of flavor if aromatics are added at multiple points in the process

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Keller has moved a long way from any kind of orthodoxy, just based on looking at the dishes and components he's most famous for.

 

I don't see much orthodoxy in the restaurant world anywhere anymore, at least when it comes to sauces. There are so many different approaches, stock-based and not. Now we have whole new sets of options opened up with pressure-cooked and sous-vide stocks, which in many case cut the cooking and prep times down to a small fraction of what's traditional. 

 

I love stocks; over the last couple of years I've changed methods and now do everything in the pressure cooker or sous-vide. I keep veal stock, vegetable stock, and chicken stock in the freezer, all with aromatics, but none with such a strong complement of them that I can't bend them in any direction I want. Most of the sauces I make don't use stock ... I make pan sauces with wine (and sometimes water) and herbs and the pan fond, and with SV bag juices if I have them. But stocks are great for when I want them. Sometimes I use straight; for fancier sauces I'll use the stock as a base for a meat-specific coulis (like jus or demi-glace) which will then be the base of a more structured sauce. It's all good ... you just have to figure out what makes sense for the ways you like to work.

 

The idea that adding aromatics at different times gives more depth of flavor sounds good, but I haven't seen (or done) and blind tests to support this. My experience with aromatics suggests that there's probably an ideal time to add each aromatic ingredient, and an ideal temperature and length of time for extraction. This would run counter to the idea that it's beneficial to add them at such different stages of cooking. The reason i do it is convenience. The aromatics in the original stock get muted by longer cooking an evaporation, but even so, they fill in the usual flavor holes a bit, so you don't have to be as thorough when seasoning the final sauce. If you don't happen to have fresh thyme or shallots around, you can get by.

 

Some chefs (I believe Grant Achatz among them) consider aromatics in the stock to be a shortcut / compromise and don't do it. I find it helpful ... YMMV.

  • Like 2

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The basic explanation is depth of flavor. But the specifics depend on the technique you're using to make the stock in the first place. These days I do all my stocks (except vegetable stock) in a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking aromatics (especially onion, leeks, and garlic) tends to mute their fresher flavors but bring out a deeper, sweeter taste that is often desirable. I double up on these whenever I cook using a pressure cooked stock so that you get the depth from the pressure cooked onions but also the more "in your face" flavor that you associate with freshly cut alliums. I don't usually add much in the way of carrots and celery in the initial cook because I'm not always looking to add the flavor (and color) that can come with them. But the alliums are always in there. Always.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I make my stocks heavily concentrated with just meaty bones, blanched, and water. Sometimes onion but not usually. I prefer to have the flexibility to season any dish as Italian, Mexican, Thai, or French as necessary.

I've not noticed any shallowness of flavor by omitting aromatics from the first stock. And any loss of convenience I get from having to season each new dish fully is for me made up by the flexibility of having frozen blocks of our chicken gelatin at hand for any use.

A tip I picked up from this forum was to try pressure cooking your stock bones with very little to no water. The resultant stock is so rich it's usefulness is measured in tablespoons.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Long cooking times of vegetables and aromatics are pointless since the flavors tend to disappear at best and can really turn into some nasty garbagey flavors in my opinion.  If the simmer time is over two hours, I leave them out. Onions are the only aromatics that can stand up to longer cooking times and add sweetness and depth but once they start disintegrating into mush, that's when it takes away from the stock. 

 

Instead of adding aromatics I add things that accentuate the meatiness of the bones and meat with umami dense ingredients like dried seafood, mushrooms, tomato paste. This provides a much better base than aromatics. The aromatics added to a later recipe is a much better use of the ingredients

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Long cooking times of vegetables and aromatics are pointless since the flavors tend to disappear at best and can really turn into some nasty garbagey flavors in my opinion.  If the simmer time is over two hours, I leave them out. Onions are the only aromatics that can stand up to longer cooking times and add sweetness and depth but once they start disintegrating into mush, that's when it takes away from the stock. 

 

Instead of adding aromatics I add things that accentuate the meatiness of the bones and meat with umami dense ingredients like dried seafood, mushrooms, tomato paste. This provides a much better base than aromatics. The aromatics added to a later recipe is a much better use of the ingredient

Thomas Keller said that you only need to cook veggies in water for 45 min to get the maximum flavor for veggie broth.  He saids that its best used right away or a couple days in the fridge because if you freeze it, the veggie flavor goes away.  Other chefs have said the same thing.  

 

So why add veggies at all when you make chicken broth, if your going to add veggies later when reducing this chicken stock for a sauce or soup?  Does cooking the veggies twice in broth really make it more complex or better?  Why not always add veggies to broth ONLY when you are going to finish a dish, and cook for only 45 min like many chefs suggest?

 

It's weird because even though Keller saids to cook veggies for 45 min. for veggie broth, he cooks his with veggies for over 5 hours in his veal/beef broth!

Edited by torolover (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do not know the science behind it, but I just make it to taste good.

My last concoction was a few quarts of vegetable stock made in a PC.

That stock was then used to make my chicken stock / broth in the PC.

Salt and pepper to taste after stock has been defatted.

 

It was friggin phenomenal.

Friends and family couldn't get enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Torolover

 

That's why I never bother adding any veggies to a stock unless it's a quick stock or if I add it near the end. Most veggies, particularly celery and carrots develop into undesirable flavors after an hour or two in my experience.  Some people probably enjoy that "cooked vegetable" flavor, I think it just tastes overcooked, muddy and swampy. The only thing I add, if anything at all, are alliums like onions and garlic, as long cooking times can add a sweetness and depth. I believe I also read somewhere that alliums contain a significant amount of umami compounds. I like to add browned/roasted onions for stock and for later recipes I add raw onions for flavor. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm with those who add nothing to my stock when I make it.  If I were only going to make soup with it, then maybe.  For several years I've been using raw wings, backs and feet.  The feet give a lot of collagen.  Lately I've been cooking for my elderly dog.  I buy a Costco rotisserie chicken, pull off all the meat for her food and put the rest in the PC.  In 30 minutes I have the best stock I've ever had.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a matter of choice and dissent.

You don't "need to add" aromats to first stock.

Historically classic chefs have not agreed on this question and for commercial kitchens it was simply a way of using up left over ingredients.

Escoffier seems to be the first to 'systematically' move away from the "meat simmered in water" first stock idea. 

It probably depends on the type and number of uses you have in mind for your stock.

What seems to be agreed today though is that stock is best made on a long simmer and not on the boil.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...