Monday, February 22, 2010

It’s Back to Class Time

Before class gets started, I want to send congratulations to Chef Giuseppe Tentori of BOKA for being nominated for a James Beard Award . Let’s hear it from those of you that went to the BOKA Safe & Sound dinner, Chef Tentori really deserves this special honor, his dishes have a delicate balance of flavors that have you feeling you never missed a thing…. If you decide to visit BOKA, call a few days in advance so Chef Tentori can make you a meal you will not soon forget!
It’s Restaurant Week in Chicago, so restaurants all over the city are preparing culinary delights for diners with special deals, these meals are sometimes served with decadent and flavorful sauces. After these meals, I always wondered how on earth can you recreate these at home allergen free? Well, you are in luck, since I attended the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago, you get to go back to the kitchen with me to start learning French cuisines and sauces sans allergens.

We are going to start with the basics and learn to make stocks. Stock is a key ingredient for adding flavor to many dishes from soups to sauces. Of course you can buy stock in a pinch, but a homemade stock is full of wonderful flavor and is really quite easy to prepare. You might remember I made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgignon, this classic French dish explodes in flavor when you use homemade stock. So with that in mind we are going to make a brown stock that you can use for Julia’s classic dish, your friends and family will love it.

Let’s start with some general knowledge on stocks.

There are several types of stocks:
- Chicken stock
- Brown stocks – made of veal and beef bones that have been browned
- Fish stocks – email me if you want the technique for fish stock (link to email)

Stock is made of:
- Water
- Bones
- Mirepoix – a mixture of 50% onion, 25% carrot and 25% celery
- Spices

The bones of animals contain connective tissues called collagen, that break down while cooking to form gelatin. You can also find gelatin in cartilage found in knuckle bones or in joints. Gelatin adds thickness and body to the stock, in fact the more thick your stock is when it cools the better.

Brown Stock

Makes about 2 quarts of stock
4 pounds of beef or veal bones
1 onion, cut in 1/4s
1 carrot, cut in chunks
2 celery stalks, cut in chunks
sachet, made of
- 6 parsley stems
- 8 whole black pepper corns
- sprig fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
2 quarts of water

Preheat oven to 400'F
Place bones in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes.
Turn bones and roast until brown.
Scrape fond out of bottom of pan and deglaze with 1 cup water, set aside.
Brown vegetables in a separate pan and set aside.
In a large stock pot, add meat bones, fond and deglazed liquid along with browned vegetables and remaining water
Gather sachet ingredients, place in a coffee filter, fold over so filter won’t open and add to pot.
Simmer mixture for 6-8 hours and check periodically to skim the imperfections off the stock. In French cooking this is called depouillage.
Remove stock from heat and strain out bones and mirepoix.
Cool stock and store.

You may notice that no salt is added to the stock. The reason for this is, a stock is a foundation ingredient; the seasoning comes in while preparing the final dish. This principal will continue as we learn to make sauces together.

Chicken Stock

Makes about 2 quarts of stock
4 pounds of chicken bones
1 onion, cut in 1/4s
1 carrot, cut in chunks
2 celery stalks, cut in chunks
2 quarts of water

Rinse chicken bones to remove impurities.
Add bones to cold water and start to bring water to boil.
Add mirepoix.
Bring water to boil, depouillage.
Reduce mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-4 hours.

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