The Art of Stock-making
Mastering the art of stock making from scratch is close to the heart of all chefs but it’s a lengthy process. As time becomes more and more precious, busy caterers are turning to the pre-prepared variety.
Take Stock talks to Nigel Crane, MD and founder of Essential Cuisine based in Cheshire, about the importance of stock and the growing popularity of his kitchen made-tasting, powdered and ready-made products. Says Nigel: “Stock is the heart and soul of a recipe, delivering depth and balance of flavour in a final dish, and, without it, food would be bland and uninteresting.
“It’s understandable that chefs want to master this essential skill and create their own bases for sauces, soups and gravies from scratch. “The flipside is that this can be a lengthy process, boiling down the bones and vegetables, repeatedly reducing down and skimming until you are le with a liquid that has extracted all the flavour, with enough gelatine that it will become full bodied when reduced.
- “A good chef should really be able to make their own stock, but there are other issues to consider in a commercial catering operation.
- Do you have time to make stock from scratch, a process which can take up to eight hours?
- Could you leave the task with lower skilled staff?
- Will it adversely affect your energy bills?
- Will you end up going against the latest health and safety regulations, which state that you cannot leave a stockpot unattended overnight?
“Stock making from scratch can be a bit of a labour of love and you need to be clear what it entails to be an asset, not an obstacle, to the successful running of your business.”