Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mise en place - Chicken Stock

Mise en place is a french culinary term meaning 'putting in place' or 'everything in place'. Professional kitchen do their mise en place so that during service hours, cooking is faster and easier. Technically, your 'miz' is your prep work in your kitchen. This the time when you make and set aside all the things that can be done in advance like flavored oil, stocks, chiffonades of herbs, sauces etc.. Moreover, it is also about placing everything that must have already been prepared in advance on your work place like cuts of beef, kitchen tools etc..

Normally, the mise en place I do in my small kitchen is all about making stock since it will take you a pretty long while to finish making a stock. A good stock is the foundation of any french cooking, and in my humble opinion, to any cooking.

Stock making is also difficult. It is not just toss everything into the pot and done. There are certain criteria that one looks into their stock: flavor, aroma, body, color, *I think am missing one more*

So here is my prep table for that.

I cut the mirepoix (50% onion, 25% carrots, 25% celery) into large pieces. You want to cut these into large pieces because they will be cooking for at least 4 hours. For the mirepoix, you can change your percentage depending on your taste. I prefer more celery in my mirepoix. :D

After doing that, roast or sear some chicken bones/backs to bring out some of its flavors. I used 1kg of chicken backs for my stock.

Pour in some water to cover your kitchen and bring it to a boil then simmer for around 1 hour to let the flavors of the chicken infuse with the liquid. While doing that, prepare some fresh thyme, parsley, bay leaf, some peppercorns, and 2 whole cloves, tie them all together. After letting the chicken simmer, add the 'sachet' *the herb mix*

Then add the mirepoix and you will have something like this.

Then bring it to a boil again then simmer it again for another 3 hours. Skim if there are any scums. Then strain everything using a strainer, better if using a chinois. :D

The good thing about a stock, it freezes really well. What you should do, since you have liters of stock, get some containers and a couple cups of stock into those containers. So when you need them in the future, just get a container and throw it into the pan. :D

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