White and Brown Stocks Cooking Guide

The ingredients for all meat, poultry and game stocks, whether brown or white, are the same. It is only the type of bone that differs according to the stock being prepared.

3 1/2 kg bones from required type of stock, chopped into small pieces with the fat removed
250g carrots (prewashed, peeled and thoroughly cut)
250g onions (prewashed, peeled and thoroughly cut)
250g leek (prewashed, peeled and thoroughly cut)
250g celery (prewashed, peeled and thoroughly cut)
100g mushrooms (use trimmings of available)
1 sprig thyme
2 bayleaves
parsley stalks
10 peppercorns
10 liter water

Herbs may be added in the form of a bouquet garni consisting of thyme, bayleaf and parsley stalks tied in a bundle together with celery and leek, but this is not really necessary as stocks are always strained after cooking.

Method: White stock
1. Blanch the bones by covering them with cold water, Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, then run off the water and wash the bones under hot water to remove all traces of fat and scum. Rinse under cold water until all the impurities have been washed away.

Method: Brown stock
1. Brown the bones in fat in an oven at 220°C then strain off all surplus fat. Brown the vegetables in fat in a frying pan on top of the stove or in a hot oven then strain off all surplus fat.

Method: White and brown stock
2. Place the bones in a stock pot, cover with cold water and bring gently to the boil.
3. Remove any scum that rises to the surface.
4. Add the vegetables and herbs.
5. Gently simmer for the required time continuously removing all traces of scum and grease.
6. When cooked strain through a conical strainer into a clean saucepan, reboil and use as required or cool as rapidly as possible and place in a refrigerator at 7-8°C until required.
7. To cool stock rapidly place the pot on a pot stand in a sink of cold water. Allow cold water to run in and surplus to drain out of the sink, or leave the pot to stand in a cool place raised on a pot stand until cool.

In order to prepare a quality stock the following points need to be considered.
1. (a) The bones must be fresh, free from fat and chopped into manageable pieces.
(b) The vegetables should be of sound quality. The following vegetables should not be used in stocks as they tend to render it either cloudy or their strong flavor distorts the natural flavor of the meat, poultry or game used: swedes, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes.
2. Do not season basic stocks with salt. If the stock is to be reduced to a glaze or added to a delicately flavored dish, the addition of salt to the basic stock may have an adverse effect which would be difficult to rectify.
3. The color and clarity of white stock is influenced very largely at the balancing stage. Brown stock derives its coloring from the coloring of the bones and vegetables during the initial stages.
4. During the cooking process:
(a) always cover the bones with cold water;
(b) simmer the stock gently throughout;
(c) skim off fat and other impurities both at the initial stage, then before adding vegetables and herbs and at intervals during cooking;
(d) do not cover stocks with a lid during cooking;
(e) keep the inner sides of the pot free from fat and scum by periodically wiping around with a clean damp cloth;
(f) do not stir stocks or disturb them during cooking.
5. When straining stocks do not disturb the cooked bones and vegetables. A stockpot with a tap and strainer is therefore ideal.
6. Stocks that have been strained should be reboiled.
7. If stocks are not for immediate use they should be cooled as quickly as possible and stored in a refrigerator.

Assessment of the completed stock:
1. The stock, whether white or brown, should be clear.
2. The body of the stock, derived from the gelatin in the bones and other soluble products, may be identified by taste and can be seen in the viscous nature of the product.
3. The stock should have a delicate flavor of the bones from which it has been made. Veal stock, however, is rather bland in flavor and so lends itself to a wide range of uses as its characteristic flavor will not predominate.
4. The stock should be free from all traces of fat and grease.
5. Brown stock should be light amber in color.

Possible Problem 1: Stock is cloudy
Causes and solution:
– in a white sauce the bones were not blanched correctly.
– excess fat not removed from the bones.
– bones were covered with hot water.
– impurities such as fat and scum not removed during cooking.
– a lid was put on during cooking.
– liquid was stirred or agitated during cooking.
– stock was rapidly boiled.
– overcooked; stock should only be cooked for the prescribed time.
– potato or cabbage used in the stock; only the correct ingredients should be used.
– stock incorrectly strained; care must be taken to follow the correct straining procedure as this cannot later be rectified.

Although cloudy stock may be clarified it is both time consuming and expensive unless the stock is required for consomme.

Possible Problem 2: Stock lacks flavor
Causes and solution:
– poor quality ingredients, use only the best quality ingredients.
– stock under-cooked not allowing the bones and vegetables to give out their flavor; taste before straining and continue to cook as necessary.
– incorrect ratio of bones and vegetables to water (i.e. not enough bones and vegetables or not enough water); if sufficient time reduce the stock after straining by boiling to concentrate the flavor.
– strong or sweet flavored vegetables (e.g. turnips, swedes, parsnips) used; use only the correct root vegetables.
– in a brown stock the bones were not sufficiently colored before being used for the stock; care must be taken during the preparation of the ingredients as this cause cannot later be rectified.