How to Make A Basic Stock

Learn the principles of making a basic stock with Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef Chicago. The fundamentals of making stock are the cornerstone of any great culinary education and you can learn it right here from one of your favorite Top Chefs.

Learn the principles of making a basic stock with Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef Chicago. The fundamentals of making stock are the cornerstone of any great culinary education and you can learn it right here from one of your favorite Top Chefs.

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] Hi, welcome to Top Chef University. I'm Spike from Top Chef Chicago. Congratulations, you're enrolled in the second course where we get into the foundations of cooking, starting with stocks and sauces. In this lesson, we'll cover the technique for making a basic stock. We'll discuss the difference between light and dark stocks, common ingredients you'll use, and ways to change up the basic stock. A well made stock is the foundation for most sauces, soups, and brazes. So let's start building. Stock is arguably one of the most important ingredients in a professional kitchen. Stocks add depth and flavor to most dishes served in restaurants. Stocks are the core of classic cooking and can be very simple to make if you follow this very simple technique. All basic stocks begin with the same key ingredients As a foundation for the buildings of flavor. These ingredients are mirepoix. So, pretty much [UNKNOWN] a classic mirepoix is carrots, celery and an onion. And what we're gonna do to get started here is we're gonna prep up all our [UNKNOWN] And then we're gonna get to start the cooking. So, pretty much what you wanna do is you wanna leave everything kind of big. Because you're gonna be cooking the stock for a couple hours, so if you cut everything too small, it's gonna kind of just disintegrate and it's gonna cloud up the stock. So, I'm just gonna cut this onion into quarters Like so. And then we're gonna take the top off this carrot and we're just gonna cut these in half. And then we're gonna take the celery and here you go. The thing about mirepoix is that is really gives body to any soup or stock that you impart it in and that's what we're looking for. We're looking for flavor and body and warmth. In this stock. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna get started with a little bit of olive oil in the pot right here. So we have a nice soup pot right here. I add a little extra olive oil because I love the flavor of olive oil. And we're just gonna turn the heat up just a little bit. We really don't want to brown. These ingredients, because it's gonna make it so dark, we kind of just want to sweat them very slowly, extract all the flavor from these ingredients, until they're kind of translucent. So I'm gonna get started by just putting that in there just like so. You can already hear it a little bit, so you know the heat's right The second thing we're going to start doing is we're gonna make a bouquet garni. Yes, bouquet garni, it's a french word and what it means is a bouquet of garnish. The garnish usually is to intensify the stock with aromatics. So we've got This beautiful thyme. This parsley. We don't let anything go to waste so we have the parsley stems which we're just gonna crack a little bit to get the flavor. And then we have bay leafs. Fresh, beautiful bay leafs that I love. So we're gonna put that in there. And I'm just gonna come back over here And what I love to do with food is I love to season in between stages cuz you, the point is to extract as much flavor. So one of the tricks is to really season your food in between all these steps. I'm gonna add a little black pepper, just a little bit because we're gonna add a lot of peppercorns to the bouquet garni. Just gonna mix this up a little bit. And I'm gonna turn down the heat,beautiful. All right, nothing goes to waste in my kitchen. So we're going to take these carrot tops, we're gonna put them in the bouquet garni, why not. Little bit of carrot and we'll put about three garlic cloves. What I love doing, is I just love squishing them, beautiful, like that. And we're just going to put them in there. And there we're going to take these pepper corns. And the point of a [FOREIGN] is that you wrap it up in this beautiful cheese cloth but you just let it do its thing. I mean you put it in to the stock. And then when it's ready to pull out, you just pull it out. Because a lot of these things have some bitter flavors to them. Such as the bay leaf and some of the stems. And if you boil that too much, it's going to really impart a bitter flavor to everything. And another trick to this is you really don't want to tie it too tight. You want to leave it a little loose, because you want all that flavor to disperse within the stock. You can always tell what's happening by the sound of cooking. So, I was listening, and you just want to stir it up a little bit more. So you can smell all that fresh ingredients. So here we go, we're going to take this long string and we're just going to wrap it around very loosely. Like I said before, you don't want this thing too tight. And this is what a classic bouquet garni looks like. We're just going to put that in the pot like that. I haven't added any water or chicken bones yet, that's ok. And then we're just going to tie it to the side. So whenever we're ready to pull that out, it will be very easy. Ok, so we're ready for the protein. These are our chicken bones, chicken carcasses. I love leaving the fat on them because it really flavors the stock and after you cool it down, it will rise to the top and you can just take it away. But you kinda wanna find the parts that are really gelatinous to kinda thicken up the soup. So we're looking at the legs. Even the neck can be really good, similar to the wings. So we're just gonna take this, and we're gonna throw it in there. You can see all the vegetables have really sweated nicely. I can smell them. You can tell it's doing their job. And we're just gonna leave that in there. And like I said before, we love seasoning in between stages here so we gotta season that carcass. We're gonna take some of this salt. Gonna put it all around. You don't wanna over-season it cuz the stock's gonna reduce and you don't want it to be a salty stock but just be careful when you're seasoning. A little bit more pepper. Oh, look at the love. I could just Oh my god it smells so good. Olive oil. Love olive oil. There we go. And that's pretty much it. We're going to take this pot of water that I filled before with cold water, it's very important that you use cold water, because what happens is as it warms up it's going to slowly extract the flavors from all these beautiful ingredients we have in here. Warm water's really not good. So we're just gonna pour that water in slowly. We don't wanna make a mess. Oh, look at that, beautiful. So what happens here, this is like really tricky and very important step in making a professional, classic stock. You want to turn up the heat, and get it kinda simmering a little bit and then at, as soon as you kinda start it simmering you want to lower the heat, because the point is to really slowly extract the flavors from here. Over boiling it is going to end up in a very cloudy stock because it's really going to disrupt everything we got going on here. And as you're slowly boiling it, You're gonna have these impurities that rise to the top and what you really wanna do is you're gonna wanna have to skim these impurities off of this chicken stock, and you'll probably have to do this a couple times, but after all the impurities are gone you're just gonna leave it to sit for about an hour and a half. You really don't want to over boil the stock again because it's gonna lose it's flavor it you over boil it. So just let it sit tight. Let it do it's thing. Great, so let's check on our stock that's been cooking for about three hours, it should probably be ready. Mm, look at, smell that, I even got a chicken stock facial going on here. It's beautiful. So what we're gonna do, is we're gonna lower the heat, and let everything kinda settle. And then we're gonna take this beautiful, flavorful bouquet garni, That we used earlier, just make sure to get all that flavor out of there we put in there. And then what I'm noticing is a little bit more fat and a little bit more impurity, so we're gonna do one final little skimming here. And what I love to do is I love just to roll it around in the middle, and then we're just gonna take a little bit of the impurities off, just like that. And here we go. I think that's it. Just a beautiful stock that's been cooking for about three hours. Very flavorful. We're just gonna let it cool down here and we're gonna to set up our cooling station. What you pretty much need is a nice cambro, another stock pot and this is what we call in a professional kitchen, a chinois. And if you wanna be a rock star, you need to get one of these. What happens is you're just gonna put all, pour all this stock in here and it's just gonna strain, strain all the chicken bones and the vegetables and just leave you with a beautiful clear stock. All right, so before we're gonna strain this gorgeous, luscious stock we've got going on here, we want to make sure to taste it, so it's exactly where we want it to be. We might have to Reduce it some more or add a little seasoning. So I'm just gonna give it a beautiful taste here with my trusty wooden spoon. Ummm, that is deliciousness in a pot. Deliciousness in a pot, but you know what, of course I'm a fanatic so we're just going to add a little extra salt cuz I think It just needs a little, extra little touch. We'll just do that. Just a little bit more pepper and I think we are on point and ready to strain. So I'm just gonna mix that up very slowly and now we're gonna carry it over to our straining station. And you always want to pour away, not toward you. So we don't want to do this cuz we'll end up with Chicken stock on our lap. So we'll just do it very slowly. Remember, this is very hot. [SOUND] And there you go. And it's really essential not to just dump everything in one fell swoop here because you just really want to get to those juices and any little bits that fall into the strainer, that's fine. But You really don't wanna get all that chicken bones and vegetables in there, because they're really really cooked and you dont' want the cloud to stock up last minute after all this hard work. And then once that's done straining, we're just gonna sit that right here. You know what I really like to do for just a little bit of a, you know, an afternoon sandwiches, there's a lot of great little meat on these bones still. You can kinda just pick them and make a sandwich, but let's get back to our beautiful stock here. So yeah we have our [UNKNOWN], as you can see has all the left over bits that we missed. And it's really important to cool this stock down quickly because you really kind of wanna solidify all that flavor. You don't want to let it continue cooking. So we're just gonna add ice around the pot. And what that's gonna do is just very, very quickly Cook, cool it down. So there we go. And then one of the tricks that I love really doing at home is you can either just put this in the refrigerator and it'll hold up for a week. Or you can freeze it But what I really like doing is using the little ice trays, and pouring the stock in the ice trays, and putting those in the freezer. So when you wanna use a little bit of chicken stock, you really have to defrost the whole entire batch. You can just do one cube at a time. I think that's really cool. So, we've taught you how to make a beautiful, basic, professional stock. But that's just the beginning. I like to refer to a stock as a blank canvas, kind of like a painters canvas. You can do anything you want with it. So we've shown you how to do the most basic, but let's have a little fun and turn it up a little bit. [SOUND] Now we're really gonna show you some variations of stocks. And this one is an Asian stock. You have this protein that is pork, you can either roast it or just leave it like this, depending on if you want a dark or a white stock. We'd probably add some beautiful scallions. Some of these dehydrated shiitakes that have a very umami flavor. Got a little soy sauce in there. We have ginger. I mean, basically what I'm trying to tell you is that stock is a blank canvas, and using as many different ingredients as you have can make really great and different stocks. Put that thee and then we let me show you some more ingredients. I mean let's not leave out the vegetarians. They always get the short end of the stick. But with stocks we have left with them so we've got these great cobs of corn here that we can use. Some great button mushrooms that give some really flavor to a vegetarian stock. Of course a [FOREIGN] that goes in every stock Then you can spice this up with the body that you lack from the protein. You could spice it up with some star anise, some fennel seed, some all spice and some cinnamon. Remember taking a time to make a great stock is a sole foundation for any dish. Stock is definitely worth the time and investment In the next lesson, we'll take the same principles you just learned and diversify your stock portfolio. [MUSIC]
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How to Make A Basic Stock


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