Categories and Types of Stocks

Categories and Types of Stocks

Stocks are flavorful liquids produced by simmering bones, meat trimmings, vegetables and other aromatic ingredients in water. Stocks are further categorized as white stock or brown stock, both of which are discussed below. They are used as the foundation for soups, stews and sauces. They are not served "as is", however.

Categories and Types of Stocks

White Stock - it is made from the meaty bones and trim from veal, beef, poultry, some types of game, and fish. The bones are frequently blanched in order to remove any impurities that might cloud or discolor the finished stock. Ordinary white stock is classically prepared from veal meat and bones, with the addition of poultry carcasses.

A white beef stock (sometimes referred to as a "neutral stock") is often prepared by first simmering the stock at higher temperature than would be used for most stocks for several minutes. The aim is to produce a stock with a nearly neutral flavor. It is often flavored for use in vegetable soups or bean dishes. White beef stock can contribute a significant body to these dishes, while still allowing the flavor of the major ingredient to predominate.

Brown Stock - one of the most commonly called-for stocks in the classic and contemporary repertoire of any kitchen is likely to be brown veal stock (fond de veau brun). Brown stocks are prepared by first cooking meaty bones and meat trim to a deep brown color, as well as the mirepoix and a tomato product, before they are simmered. This changes both the flavor and color of the finished stock. Brown stocks are especially valuable in sauce cookery, as they are used as the foundation for brown sauce, demi-glace and pan gravies.

Remouillage - the word translates as a "rewetting", which is a good way to think of the way that remouillage is made. Bones used to prepare a "primary stock" are reserved after the first stock is strained away from the bones. The bones are then covered with water, and a "secondary stock" is prepared. Some chefs argue that, if the first stock was made properly and simmered for the correct amount of time, there will be little if anything left in the bones to provide either flavor or body in the remouillage. Others feel that this second generation of stock can be used as the basis for other broths or as the cooking liquid for braises and stews. The food being prepared will provide the majority of the flavor in the finished sauce, and a first-rate stock can be reserved for use in dishes where its role is more significant.

Broth (or Bouillon) - it shares many similarities with stocks. They are prepared in essentially the same fashion. Meaty bones (or in some cases, the entire cut of meat, bird or fish) are simmered in water (or remouillage or a prepared stock) along with a variety of vegetables and other aromatic ingredients. Many meatless dishes are prepared with a vegetable broth. Some chefs may refer to this preparation as a vegetable stock. Those stocks made from meat or fish bones will reach a state of clarity and body through the extraction of proteins found in bones and meat. Vegetable broths vary greatly in the degree of body and clarity that they may achieve.

Fumet (or Essence) - the most common fumet is one prepared by sweating fish bones along with vegetables such as leeks, mushrooms and celery, then simmering these ingredients in water, perhaps with the addition of a dry white wine. The end result is generally not as clear as a stock, but it is highly flavored. Fumets and essences can be prepared from such ingredients as wild mushrooms, tomato, celery or celery root, ginger and so forth. These essences, nothing more than highly flavored infusions made from especially aromatic ingredients, can be used to introduce flavor to other preparations, such as consommés or broths and a variety of "small sauces".

Estouffade - the classic formula for estouffade set down by Escoffier is virtually identical to what was then known as a brown stock. There are some differences to note, however. Estouffade is prepared by simmering together browed meaty veal bones, a piece of fresh or cured pork, and the requisite vegetables and other aromatics. Contemporary kitchens tend to prepare a brown stock that does not include pork. Today, estouffade is less widely used as a basic preparation, although it is still regarded as a classic preparation.

Court Bouillon - a "short broth" is often prepared as the cooking liquid for fish or vegetables. The basic components of a court bouillon include aromatic vegetables and herbs, an acid such as vinegar, wine or lemon juice, and water. A court bouillon may be prepared as part of the cooking process, or it may be prepared in large batches and used as required, in much the same manner as stocks and broths are prepared.

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