2 subjects: Wine for cooking/Beef and Chicken Stock

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by cat915, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. cat915

    cat915

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    Hello,

    Hoping this forum can help me out. I've always read that the wine you drink is the wine you should use for cooking. Well I don't drink and know nothing about wines. Can anyone suggest a good "all purpose", moderatly priced dry red and dry white wine for cooking?

    Next is stock. Each time I read a good recipe, esp for soup, it calls for beef or chicken stock so I immediately avoid the recipe. I've read directions for making stock from scratch and seen it done on TV and it looks way too involved and I just don't have time for it. Is there anything on the market that can be made quickly that gives the same flavor...or at least comes very close to stock from scratch? I've read some recipes where it's stated to use broth from can but I can't imagine canned broth tasting anywhere near as good and I'd be concerned that the entire recipe may fail if broth were used. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Cat
     
  2. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    Well, my answer will be in more than two parts.

    1. Welcome.
    2. This is not the end all answer, it is only the way I do it (in reference to both questions)
    3. Although I did go to cooking school, I am not a proffesional, I am a home cook.

    So, in regards to wine, it is personal, and a matter of experimentation. Wine is a very personal thing. It is also something that people just don't do right, and wind up making a good dish unpleasant at worst to flavourless at the most disappointing. My great grand father was a master vintner. He always chuckled over people who believed the better the quality of wine for drinking, the better it was for cooking. Not true. Many fine wines are also delicate, and do not stand to heating, becoming flavourless. There are also fine wines that embody so much flavour the final product is muddied for taste.

    This is what I do, and it works wonderfully. I always use 'House' wines. These are the simplest of reds and whites. They tend to not carry a significant flavour signature, and they tend to hold well in cooking. They are also reasonably priced.

    Yes, the wine you like to drink is the wine to use in cooking. Very true. It works the absolute best at the final stage of cooking. By adding in 4 or 8 Oz of your favourite wine or port or sherry at the end of cooking, you then introduce that flavour signature to your food. That way you can buy a 5 dollar bottle of wine and at the end of cooking swirl in a 20 dollar a bottle of wines flavour.

    Also, pay attention to the word 'oaked'. Oaked wines are aged in oak barrels, otherwise they are aged in stainless steel vats. Oak is a powerful flavour that can overpower simple flavoured meats like rabbit and doesn't go pleasantly in sauces like hollandaise.



    As to stock, conquer your fear. I am serious. You will wonder how you ever did without it once you learn to make it.

    I will say this. I have many times run out of home-made stock and used canned. Presidents choice Organics is a good line. There are others, like Campbell's, but I refuse to use MSG in my cooking. Be aware that they all also contain salt.

    Really, making your own is the better way to go. And it is not that hard or time consuming (it works very well unattended).

    For brown stock, you need bones that have been browned. In the oven at 450F for an hour or two is usually enough (sometimes longer for a darker stock or heavyer bone.)

    For white, just don't brown the bones.

    The basic veg flavour is
    1 part onion
    1/2 part carrot
    1/2 part celery

    The ratio is not as specific as a lot of books will say. It will easily work if your measurements are not exact. I do it by feel.

    In my 7 litre pot, enough bones to come within 2 inches of the top I add one med/large onion and 1 carrot and 1 stalk of celery. Always taste the celery. If it is very sharp, use half a stalk instead.

    As to the herbs to use, that is again personal. For chicken stock in my 7 litre pot I use 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves, 20 peppercorns, and 1 branch of star anise. There are many other combinations. Some with thyme and parsley stalks and leek leaves, etc.

    To white stock, you can also add a half cup of white wine. Helps liberate some of the collagen in the bones. In brown stock you would add some well caramelised tomato past (this I omit as my daughter is rather allergic)

    The only other difference is time. Chicken bones usually will have given their all in 3-4 hours (brown or white, not counting the browning time). When I do beef shank bones, that is on the stove 18 - 24 hours. Needless to say, I only use shank bones for brown stock, I only do this in the winter, I turn off the furnace while doing so, and make 20 or 30 litres and freeze it up in 16 Oz containers when done.


    Now, a soup of a different kind is cock-a-leekie. Ahhh, but that is its own story..........
     
  3. scott123

    scott123

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    Cat, homemade stock raises the quality of a dish, canned stock lowers it.

    Stock doesn't have to be all that complicated. You can make pasta, right? Instead of adding pasta to boiling water and then straining it, you're adding bones/skin to boiling water and then straining that. The only difference is that instead of keeping the bones/skin, you're keeping the water.

    Sure, it can get a LOT more complicated than that. As a beginner, though, I think that's the best approach to getting your feet wet. Take the bones from a roast, boil them, save the water, chill it and then remove the layer of fat on top. This isn't going to be the most phenomenal stock in the world, but it will be far superior to what you get in a can. Once you start making mediocre stock, it will elevate the quality of your food so much that you'll be yearning to go that extra mile.
     
  4. cat915

    cat915

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    Thank you, Scott. You gave the answer I was looking for...whether the canned stock would work as well. And you've made making the stock appear to be easier than I thought. I'll take your advice and try it.

    Cat
     
  5. cat915

    cat915

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    Thank you for all the great information. Now I can go out and purchase some wines knowing what I'm looking for instead of wondering around the isles looking at all those bottles!

    Cat
     
  6. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    So, what are you thinking of cooking?

    I will agree with Scott that the vast majority of canned stocks are just bad. There are ones that have salt and colour and artificial flavour!?! and nothing else. There are one or two exceptions, but in the long run, you will be far happyer to make your own. It is also far cheaper to make your own.

    Do you know how to make rissoto? There are many varyations, but the simplest will also allow you to ease your way into stock making as well.
     
  7. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Cat- you shouldn't be so intimidated by stocks. They do make a great difference in your results, and they are pretty easy to make. If you make your own, you can control the amount of salt in them: many prepared ones are just salt bombs.

    If you are tight with your local butcher, he will probably give you sawed beef bones and chicken spare parts- backs and necks- for free. All these are harder to find than they used to be, but many small meat/grocery operations still chop up their own chickens and have the parts left over. If not free, they are very reasonably priced.

    You want to simplify things- for twenty years I've made my stock in a pressure cooker. Thirty minutes at 15 pounds does the job. Let it cool, strain off the juice, and package and freeze. Keeps for months, frozen.

    Look up any recipe- bones, celery, parsley, carrots, onion, peppercorns. Jim Beard is partial to putting a pig's foot in... haven't done that yet. ;)

    You can roast the beef bones - little or no meat on them - in a 400 degree oven for a couple hours beforehand to add flavor and depth.

    It really is worth the trouble- which isn't much.

    Mike
     
  8. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    Hoofs add gelatine to stock. If you make OX-tail soup, you will find it very sticky. That is because of all the gellatin in ox-tails. When I make Cock-a-leekie, I use smokek ham hocks and cows hoofs in the pot. Adds a real nice body and warmth to the soup, and the broth excesse I clairify and it makes a really nice tea coloured consume.