How do you make a rich brown stock?

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Answered by: Sally, An Expert in the Stocks and Sauces Category
A rich brown stock is an important base or foundation to any good brown sauce, glaze or soup. It is important to know the proper steps to follow in order to extract as much flavor as possible from the bones and vegetables, as well as to keep the stock from becoming cloudy. A good brown stock will be clear, have great body, and a rich, dark color and flavor. A rich brown stock can be made from chicken, beef, or veal bones.

The recipe for a great brown stock is 5-6 lbs. bones, 5-6 qts. cold water, 1 lb. mirepoix (2 parts onion, 1 part carrots, 1 part celery, by weight), 4 oz tomato paste, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 10 peppercorns, and 12 parsley stems; never add salt to a stock.

The first step in making a brown stock is to roast the bones and vegetables separately, roast the tomato past with the mirepoix. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and roast until nicely browned, turning them over a few times in order to brown them evenly. Make sure not to burn them as this would add an unpleasant flavor to the stock. While the bones are roasting, prepare a sachet. To do this, place the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and parsley stems into a cheesecloth or coffee filter and tie closed with a clean piece of string or twine.

After the bones and vegetables are sufficiently roasted, deglaze the pans. To deglaze, rinse and scrape the pans with either red wine or cold water and save it for the stock. This is important because the particles of the bones and vegetables that are cooked onto the pans will add much needed flavor and body to the stock. After the bones and mirepoix have been roasted, place them in a large pot and cover with cold water. It is important that the water is cold so the impurities do not cloud the stock. As the water heats up, these impurities will congeal and rise to the top to be skimmed off.

Place the sachet into the pan and bring the stock to a simmer; never boil a stock as it will cause the stock to become cloudy. For chicken stock simmer for 6-8 hours, for beef or veal stock, simmer for 10-12 hours. Skim the top of the stock often to remove the foamy impurities and to assure that the stock remains clear. Taste the stock often to assure that it is getting the body and flavor a good stock needs.

When the stock is done, it should feel sticky to the lips, and have depth of flavor. Carefully remove as many of the bones as possible from the stock with tongs, then strain the stock through cheesecloth and mesh strainer. Be sure to pour slowly in order to keep the stock clear and not spill. The stock is now done and ready to either use or chill for later use. When refrigerated, a rich, flavorful stock will be thick and more gelatinous than jello. Now you are ready to make great sauces and soups with your rich brown stock.

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