Making Stock, French Style
What is it that makes French cuisine truly unique are the rich and divine gourmet sauces, without which French food wouldn’t be as popular as they are today. But what makes a good French sauce? Needless to say, the ingredients are the key to a perfect sauce. And these include fresh stock, the perfect roux and good quality flour. Making stock the French way is simple, provided you manage to get the ingredients right. French cooking isn’t always about quick fix techniques and methods. The chicken stock for example, is prepared after hours of reduction. We all know that a good stock needs some good carcass, some vegetables, and some deglazing from a roasting pan. But what constitutes a good stock? The answer to that depends on the stock that you prepare. For instance, if you’re planning to make chicken stock, it’s a must to use chicken feet. Chicken feet are made up of several connecting tissues that contain collagen and bones that contain gelatin. These add a rich texture and flavor to the soup. Bones are the best portion of any meat for the stock. For those planning to make beef stock, it makes sense to roast the bones before adding them to the water. The caramelized flavor adds intense texture and taste to the stock. There are some who beat the bones, to ensure that the bone marrow is released in the soup. This is then allowed to simmer gently over a long period of time, to allow the flavors to be released slowly. When it comes to vegetables, the French usually stick to leeks, carrots, celery, and yellow onions. And to these are added seasonings such as parsley, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, tarragon, and basil. Vegetables like potatoes and cabbages are generally avoided. While the former adds a lot of starch to the stock, the later gives out a distinct and strong flavor, that is sure to harm the delicate balance of flavors. And of course, you ought to remember to remove the scum that‘s formed as the result of the simmering process. These are the blood and other impurities that are raised when the meat is being cooked. Make sure that the liquid isn’t boiling when you are doing this, or the scum would stick to the bones causing the stock to taste bitter. As for adding salt, there are some who prefer to add salt when making the sauce or the soup, as this allows them to control the taste of the final product. But there are some who prefer to add the salt right away to ensure that the flavors blend well. If you are going to add salt, make sure you use it wisely. Resource Box: The author of this article loves to write about French cuisine and about the different gourmet sauces, including demi glace. This author has also written about the several ways of making stock including chicken stock.