Seasoning meat with bouillon cubes.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pcieluck, May 19, 2011.

  1. pcieluck

    pcieluck

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    I'm watching some recipes by this guy Marco Pierre White. I understand he's sold his soul and his first born child to Knorr, but he seems to use bouillon cubes for EVERYTHING. Even if he's just doing a simple pan fried cut of meat he'll make a paste with bouillon to use as his seasoning. anyone else do this or have anything decent to say about it?

    Take, for example, how he seasons his steaks here... 
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    The primary problem with that is you have no control over the amount of each flavoring ingredient. And bouillon cubes, in particular, are notorious for their high sodium levels.

    The idea of reducing a stock or broth to a dry stage is not new, and, in fact, goes back at least to the 1600s. So, in theory, I have no problems with the concept. It's just that there's a difference between merely reducing a genuine stock and manufacturing bouillon cubes full of salt, artificial flavors, and preservatives
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    At least he used a good brand. This is not normally done as far as I have seen.I have however seen many guys add a pinch of chicken base to a roux when it is to be used in a chicken dish.

    Keep in mind the food service package of Knorr, is quite different from what you buy in supermarket.
     
  4. brownedoff

    brownedoff

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    Agreed - if you have any choice in the matter at all, it's ridiculous to use cubes. I don't consider Knorr a particularly good brand as far as cubes go in any case!
     
  5. pcieluck

    pcieluck

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    yea i kind of get the idea watching him that he's just paid by Knorr to talk about stock cubes in his video the way he does. it just kind of cracks me up. His food looks amazing and if you watch some of his other videos he speak slike he has a lot of knowledge, but then he just always breaks out that bouillon cube and i can't help but chuckle a little.

    The entire idea doesn't screw me up too much, I have seen and have myself made rubs out of spices herbs and oil, just never heard of anyone doing it with a stock cube.  I'd be a tad too afraid of my meat tasting like... Ramen noodles.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  6. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I raise my own Black Angus beef, a great steak needs very little seasoning. If you want to add a flavor, Garlic is always nice and a light sprinkle of  S & P, you can even rub with a oil and garlic mixture. I don't feel a need to add beef flavor to my beef, I want the tender, juicy, melt in your mouth flavor of beef.......................ChefBillyB
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I certainly agree with you Billy: beef has a flavor of its own, and doesn't need more than salt & pepper. But many people do think they need other flavorings and sauces. Plus the OP asked about White's technique.

    Not the first time Pierre Marco White has used is mad-man-of-the-kitchen reputation and his my-way-or-the-highway attitude to promote ideas that are either unnecessary or wrong. Did you pick up on his comments about those who use the touch system for determining doneness?  Fact is, he is flat wrong about that! Texture and toughness are the same whether the slab of beef has been aged for three weeks or just cut off the cow and thrown on the fire. And some point in the cooking time the steak will have the same about of give for, say, medium rare. And that textural point doesn't change.
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    There was a recipe for "sticky chicken" a few years back seasoned with a chicken base to get intense chicken flavor in the skin.

    Ken Lo in his very early English language Chinese cookbooks (1970 time frame) resorted to bouillon cubes for seasoning as the more authentic seasonings simply weren't available to his audience then.  That particular book is very interesting reading. He carefully chose dishes that could be reasonably replicated by US/UK home cooks with readily available ingredients of the day.

    And the dishes he chose to replicate there still rarely appears in Chinese cookbooks today, not even his own later works. when ingredients became less of an issue. Many of them are still quite good.
     
  9. mikez

    mikez

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    what a cheater... just joking, seriously I am not opposed to using some bouillon instead of salt for seasoning in some applications, but I can imagine using a bouillon paste to season might be too overpowering. I think maybe if used appropreatly it could add something though.
     
  10. pcieluck

    pcieluck

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    I agree. Buy good quality stuff and keep it simple. At least a pinch of salt is always necessary in my book though, and pepper, well I just tend to like how it looks on things. I always deglaze my pan with butter and garlic. I feel butter adds richness without interfering with flavor.
     
  11. planethoff

    planethoff

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    I understand it's use and purpose, but out-of-control-portion sodium and MSG are not what I eat or serve to anyone I care about. not to mention chemically created flavor.  I know several "molecular gastronomists" and the belief of better taste through chemistry does not appeal to me.  I do respect them and their beliefs though.  I just don't eat their food.
     
  12. cosanostra

    cosanostra

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    It's a real shame that a massively respected chef such as White has gone down this route. It is clearly disgusting. If you start with a good product in the first place you shouldn't need to rub a stock cube all over it. White's contribution to UK gastronomy should still be respected though. If you think of all the chefs that went through his kitchens and where they are now his legacy is still intact, although tarnished by this stock cube bulls**t.

    As an aside I know Glynn Purnell (1 star) used an OXO cube for a dish involving home made corned beef. He cuts the corned beef into cubes and coats them with OXO to make them look like OXO cubes. For me though I wouldn't use them in a professional kitchen.
     
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  13. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I always have Knorr stock cubes in the pantry. As a homecook I don't have homemade stock available   at any time.

    Knorr cubes have deserved a lot of respect in homekitchens in Europe, certainly in my country and.. in France as well. When I buy the french cooking magazine "Cuisine & Vins de France", there will be more recipes using stock cubes that you would care to believe!!! Posh magazines use the word "fond"; any good cook -pro or homecook- understands "Knorr", we'll get to that a bit later.

    However, seasoning with Knorr cubes seems a little odd. Anyone knows that these things are not ment to be used like that. It's a bouillon cube, which means it has to be dissolved in the amount of hot water that is mentioned, it' s a heavily concentrated product. However, I've read a lot of suggestions in french recipes where a small amount of a stock cube is used to crumble in a sauce, for instance. I've done it quite a lot to my utter satisfaction, but then again I already confessed over here to be a cheater. Break a small corner from a Knorr cube and crumble it over a bland béchamel sauce, let it cook for a while and taste. It's all about dosage. I know an Italian pro-chef who uses a homemade mix of salt, rosemary and sage in many dishes. Knorr cubes are salt+flavors. Not too much difference isn't it?

    Thousands of European families, schools and even restaurants rely on Knorr cubes to make soups. Many households will never use nothing else than water and Knorr to make a soup. Even in France!!!

    Maybe you noticed I used "Knorr" a lot in the text above, it has it's reasons, they are simply good. Don't buy junk cubes. Italian "Star" also has good stuff. Above all, visit a lot of European pro-kitchens, including french kitchens and take a look at the huge Knorr packages you will find there! They are destinated for the professional market. They are all concentrates. Maybe also take a look at the liquid stock you buy in supermarkets and read the labels. It's all made with concentrates, aromas, yeast extracts, and a hilariously minimal amount of meat/bones...  It only looks as if grand-mère made it.

    And yes, the best restaurants still make their fonds on a daily basis and a lot of homecooks, including me, make chickenstock regularly.
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I use MAGGI Institutional Chicken Boullion not cubes  ( Not chicken flavored , real chicken) the first ingredient is roasted chicken meat.

            You can't buy in your local supermarket. Of all of the ones I have tried it taste the most like chicken. I once worked with chinese chefs they made soup with  MSG,salt. drop yellow color, an onion skin and water  thats all.  Most chicken bases are this only they add hydro veg protein.
     
  15. rob w

    rob w

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    It seems like a lot of times, he's demonstrating as though his audience is the home cook...  

    More often than not, when I watch his videos, he's talking about folks just getting off of work and wanting to make just a course meal in a limited amount of time.  So, granted, he may be campaigning for some company, but it may also be that he's trying to not be pretentious and show home cooks a way to get a decently flavored meal with resources they would have on hand or easy access to.
     
  16. rob w

    rob w

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    You know, there's also something to be said about using MSG to touch that umami sense on the palette...  It's not by chance that Hidden Valley Ranch packets are used sometimes as a secret culinary weapon. ;p
     
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  17. brownedoff

    brownedoff

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    Chris,

    my local supermarket sells some Swiss bouillon cubes with natural ingredients which are the only ones I use (and only then when I'm out of stock). Knorr is awful by comparison. Strangely they don't have any kind of brand name.
     
  18. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    We might be talking about a difference between readily available European and American brands . In other words, apples and oranges.

    For instance (and remember, in American ingredients are listed in order of their percentage), Knorr's vegetable bouillon cubes list the following ingredients:Salt, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseel oils, msg, yeast extract, dehydrated vegetables (onion, cabbage, carrots, parsley, garlic), sugar, corn starch, prices, caramel and tumeric for color and a bunch of chemicals. Not a whole lot of vegetables in that vegetable stock.

    For an even worse mix, another brand's "beef" lists ingredients as: Hydrolyzed soy protein, salt, dextrose, msg, sugar, onion powder, corn starch, autolyzed yeast extract, hyrolyzed corn gluten, granulated onion, beef fat, contains 2% or less of:ground celery seed, spice, caramel color, silicon dioxide, disodiuym guanylate, disodium insoinate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil. In other words, where's the beef?

    On the other hand, the ingredients list for a commercial base starts with: Roasted beef with concentrated beef stock..... Unfortunately, as Ed has pointed out, this kind of stuff isn't available in supermarkets.
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    >to make just a course meal in a limited amount of time........but it may also be that he's trying to not be pretentious <

    RobW, did we watch the same video?

    We're talking about Pierre Marco White, right? The guy who defines pretention?

    More to the point, please explain to me how taking an unnecessary step, using what is possibly a poor product choce, is a time saver?

    Let's skip the unnecessary part, because that is, after all, a matter of personal taste, and assume somebody wants all those flavors hiding the flavor of the beef. You can follow his instructions and make a wet rub. Or you can brush the steak with oil, and sprinkle on controlled amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, herbs, whatever your fancy desires. Result: a better tasting final dish that probably took less time to prepare.
     
  20. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Could it be by any chance Herkules brand? I bought a tin can (500 gr) of beef bouillon from them a while ago, not cubes, bulkproduct but the same consistency as cubes. It's a Swiss brand and actually quite good. I now realize there is more good product on the market besides Knorr. That would certainly include Maggi as Chef Ed mentioned.

    Herkules is less salted, but like almost all of these products it cannot be reduced, once it's put in a sauce or risotto etc., or the salt will take over all taste.

    This is the import company I bought Herkules from; http://www.bouillonherkules.be/
     
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011