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.

Forever Soup


BetD

Recommended Posts

I found this article  interesting as it reminded me of my aunt, who was a school teacher married to a cattle rancher. Her winters were spent in town, but summers were all at the ranch house. Her stove had a perpetual kettle of yum going the whole summer.  Some days beef was added, some days beans, everyday things from the garden would find their way into the pot. It was always served up with fresh flour tortillas and was simply the best food ever. 

 

I miss her.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2

"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely memory. That "perpetual" soup does requre someone monitorng a lot- not a luxury most have today. 

 

You did remind me of something the late womderful Barbara Tropp wrote in her China Moon cookbook about the loss of her muti layered stocks. Can't find my book but she called then single, duble, triple. So a chicken stock then  gets more chicken and aromatics and simmers away, and that is repeated a 3rd time. They were umami cornerstones of her dishes - until - she lost them all in a San Francisco earthquake. Took her a long time to build them up again.  I think Jacques Pepin may have spent time enjoying a good champagne with her as they babysat the pots.

 

I do it in a minor way freezing the last bit of something lovely includong pan juices and adding it to another dish. Makes it impossible to replicate dishes but tastes good.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did this for hot beef sandwiches with a crock pot. I left it on low for a few weeks. It definitely got more concentrated as the days went on. It was better when it was getting low on liquids, but you have to top it off every other day to keep it from burning up into nothing. Im pretty sure places like Italian beef in Chicago and Brennan and Carr in NY use the forever method.

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

There is one restaurant here in Liuzhou which claims its 卤水 (lǔ shuǐ) is over 70 years old.

 

By the way, the article linked to says the Chinese is 'lou mei'. It may be in some obscure dialect, but in Mandarin, spoken by the vast majority, it is lǔ shuǐ (pronounced roughly like 'loo shway'). Several sites claim this means 'old water'; wrong! It just means 'master stock' and the etymology is 'brine water'. No mention of its age.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
Mark Twain

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One restaurant that I worked in had a standalone stock pot in one corner of the kitchen. It was about 30 gallons, I would estimate. It had a fine screen that hung about halfway down the pot that would be hauled out periodically and dumped. All vegetable scraps, bones, meat scraps, and pan drippings went into the pot. There was a spigot at the bottom to draw off the stock. I remember that on a cold Winter's day there was nothing better than a good cup of bullion to keep you warm.

It had been going for about 15 years before I started work there and that was in 1973. To my knowledge the restaurant is still open so that would make it about 64 years old if it is still going.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TicTac said:

I have a Chinese master stock that has been evolving for about 5-6 years now.  Delicious.

 

 

Is it kept heating on low ordo you repreat freeze & thaw?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, heidih said:

Is it kept heating on low ordo you repreat freeze & thaw?

Freeze and thaw.  Do not use it enough to warrant the ongoing space on my range!

 

Just be sure to introduce new aromatics and liquid every use or two; as I find freezing degrades some of the freshness. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a bit more discussion over here about the Asian version of this "forever soup": Asian-style Master Stock

  • Thanks 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/22/2022 at 11:49 AM, TicTac said:

Freeze and thaw.  Do not use it enough to warrant the ongoing space on my range!

 

Just be sure to introduce new aromatics and liquid every use or two; as I find freezing degrades some of the freshness. 

You can't really call it 5-6 years since freezing basicly halts everything. You might have a stock that you keep thawing and freezing for 6 years but if you only simmer it for a few hours a few times a year its really just the time spent simmering.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, FeChef said:

You can't really call it 5-6 years since freezing basicly halts everything.

Since we're talking about master stock here, it's in a completely different category than forever soup and, yes, you can State the age by the time that you have had it going. It's richness depends on how often that you use it. The Chinese do not keep it simmering constantly. I wish that @liuzhou would weigh in and let us know how the Chinese preserve it between uses.

I have a jar of shabu-shabu sauce base in my refrigerator that I have had going for almost 20 years. I learned it from a Japanese woman in Seattle. It is crushed garlic and crushed limes cut in half covered in soy sauce. I replenish the soy sauce as I use it and replace the garlic and lime about every 5 years. I use it as a base for dip for potstickers and in some sauces that I make. It has an indescribably rich flavor that just seems to get better all the time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Since we're talking about master stock here, it's in a completely different category than forever soup and, yes, you can State the age by the time that you have had it going. It's richness depends on how often that you use it. The Chinese do not keep it simmering constantly. I wish that @liuzhou would weigh in and let us know how the Chinese preserve it between uses.

I have a jar of shabu-shabu sauce base in my refrigerator that I have had going for almost 20 years. I learned it from a Japanese woman in Seattle. It is crushed garlic and crushed limes cut in half covered in soy sauce. I replenish the soy sauce as I use it and replace the garlic and lime about every 5 years. I use it as a base for dip for potstickers and in some sauces that I make. It has an indescribably rich flavor that just seems to get better all the time.

Refrigeration is not the same as freezing. Of course in a fridge it will get better, just like pickling gets better as the weeks go by. But you halt everying at freezing temps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/24/2022 at 10:06 PM, Tropicalsenior said:

I wish that @liuzhou would weigh in and let us know how the Chinese preserve it between uses.

 

First let me say that very few people here will make master stocks at home; it is a Cantonese restaurant thing.

 

The restaurants aren't going to be freezing it either; they need it to cook with. These restaurants are open for business 18 hours a day, first with Yum Cha or morning tea and dim sum, then straight into lunch then dinner until late at night. Ideally, they will boil up the stock every day and skim and strain it to remove impurities. Less scrupulous places maybe not that often.

 

As for the places using stock up to 100 year sold, thre would have been no way to freeze it or even refrigerate it. Refrigeration (and certainly freezing) is a relatively modern luxury.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
Mark Twain

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...