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  • My Secret Sauce

    Here is a great substitute for chicken broth/stock and an even better one for water! You could even thicken this with a roux for a nice mild sauce to pour over your fish or chicken. I don’t really think there is a set list of ingredients for this wonderful liquid.

    When you simmer vegetables they give up all of this colorful essence to the water you are using and this is what makes your broth. A good combination of vegetables and herbs will make a flavorful broth. You can control just how strong or mild you want this to be especially, if you don’t want to overpower the food you are using it with. For example, if you use it as a liquid for your rice and you only want it to enhance the rice enough to omit using salt or butter so, the rice be the main flavor.

    It is worth the effort as this will keep 4 to 5 days in the fridge and freezes well. My recipe is a combination of herbs and vegetables that most people will have on hand (I think).  I wanted to have a good 2 quarts of broth so, I used 10 cups of water to start. private chef

    Here is what I added (I actually did not measure ingredients) onion, carrot, baby belle mushrooms (washed at last second), garlic, leek, celery, 1 red pepper top, 1 green pepper top, 2 bay leaves, fresh ginger and a bouquet of fresh parsley, tarragon, rosemary and thyme wrapped between two leek tops. You don’t want to cut these ingredients too big because, this is not a long simmer like meat stocks are.

    Add all of these things to the water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for an hour. Strain through a fine strainer and make sure to press down on the vegetables with a large spoon to extract all of the liquid that you can get. Cool it down to room temperature and store it in your fridge or freeze it in 2 cup containers. It is that easy! If you wanted to try a more specialized broth like an Asian or Italian style of broth then you could experiment with vegetables and spices that most associate with those cuisines.

    It is always best to add salt and adjust seasonings after you decide how you want to use this. Think of this as your first flavor before you start layering on the real character of your dish. This is the perfect canvas to paint on. Whatever you do, don’t ever use that disgusting bouillon.

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  • How to Make Broth Properly

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    It seems nowadays you can get anything pre-made. Broths and stocks are no exception but, for us Private Chefs in NYC there are so many good reasons to make your own. It is good to know what really went into creating that golden yellow liquid. I like the idea of controlling the fat and sodium content because if you ever reduce canned broth too much the salt will overpower it and you will not be able to eat it. You can also add all organic produce and use the bones from a free range bird. I think it is best to have an almost neutral tasting stock or broth, so that it will blend in with whatever food or sauce you intend to use it for.

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    If you desire a stronger flavor than you simply reduce it by half and it will be more concentrated. Also this freezes very well for a few months without loss of flavor. In a lot of old cookbooks you will read chefs telling you to bring your stock to a boil for a few minutes every 3 days and it will keep indefinitely. I have never done it more than once and after 6 days it still smelled great. I prefer to take a 2 cup portion out of the freezer and drop it in a saucepan til it melts (about 6 minutes). To me the differences between a broth and a stock are this, The broth is mostly the liquid left from simmering a whole chicken or parts and maybe a vegetable or two. The stock is much more of a flavorful liquid that is made from various bones with little or no meat and a good portion of vegetables, herbs and peppercorns wrapped in cheesecloth and simmered for a good 2 to 3 hours. There are many variations and it is up to you to see what gives you the flavor you most desire. Here is a simple one I made to show you. I started with roughly 4LBS of chicken bones and I rinsed them under cold water after removing most of the fat.

    I put them in a large pot and filled it with enough water to cover them completely. Bring this to a slow simmer skimming the scum and fat off of the surface. Do not ever let this boil or your stock will be cloudy. When I have skimmed the majority of scum from the surface I will add the vegetables and another 2 cups of water to replace what I removed. The vegetables I used were around 4 cups cut in pieces large enough to handle 2 to 3 hours of simmering without dissolving on you. Here is what I added, 2 medium onions, 1 leek, 2 medium carrots, 2 ribs of celery, 4 green onions whole, 1 fresh bay leaf and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley stems. You can add a whole lot more than these ingredients like mushrooms or garlic cloves. The classic ratio for a stock is 50% onions and 25% carrots and 25% celery. I like the the flavor I get with more vegetables. Now, I bring this back to a simmer and skim the fat off after it builds up in little blobs on the surface.

    I let it go until I think it has reduced enough for me and that is 2 to 3 hours as I said. Strain this into a large saucepan if you plan to concentrate the flavor by reducing more. Remember to taste it. If you do not plan to reduce or use this right away then you must cool it down as quickly as possible. Strain it into a large bowl and place it in a sink full of ice. When it is cool enough I portion it into 2 cup size freezer containers or you could fill and ice tray up with some and freeze them in a freezer bag when done. You will be very satisfied after you have done this. I hope this recipe helps you become the best private chef.