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Heston Blumenthal's Stock and Consommé Recipes

Yesterday I used Heston Blumenthal's recipe for "Brown Chicken Stock", using the thighs and carcasses left over from boning out the breasts and removing the wings and legs from two 4-lb. chickens. I also did a pot of beef stock from 5 lbs. of meaty beef neck bones, my first time using these. ($1.39/lb. vs. $5.59/lb. for oxtail made the decision which to use for me.)

Recipe: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes...

Even though I don't have a pressure cooker, just doing it the old-fashioned way with a stovetop simmer produced a dark, flavorful stock. I think one of the greatest benefits of using the milk powder to assist with browning is that with this method there's not a single bit of scum to skim off the surface. Literally brown the veg in the stockpot, add the oven-roasted meat, cover with boiling water, establish a simmer, then cover and walk away. I used the same recipe a couple of weeks ago on 6 lbs. of duck wings with great results, plus the bonus of a 1/2 cup of duck fat to use for a future confit.

I did make a schoolboy error using the beef. I didn't think about that they have almost no fat to them at all, so I had to pull the pan at 40 minutes instead of an hour, as some of the overspray of milk powder was about to burn onto the pan. In the end, it worked out okay, and I've a lovely batch of beef stock to work with now too.

Now I want to try Heston's recipe for consommé, and have the chicken stock frozen in 3 cup blocks in Rubbermaid containers (even though he recommends freezing in ice cube trays, frozen stock is frozen stock, eh?):

Recipe: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes...

It would be great to have single portions of crystal clear consommé in the freezer at the ready when I want to make some wonton soup, etc.

Has anyone here used Heston's recipes for broth or consommé? I did a search of the boards, but Heston seems to get little play on Chow. My biggest question is in regards to yield. I'm willing to invest in the experiment, but I'd rather not have half of the concoction held back in the cheesecloth.

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  1. On Chicken Stock - I was interested in trying this Brown Chicken Stock.. until I read this business of placing everything into the pressure cooker. I do not own a pressure cookie. So I am Glad to hear it worked well for you on the stove.

    1. I've been clarifying by syneresis for several years. Don't be surprised if you leave half the volume in the cheesecloth. The resulting liquid will be a golden yellow color (it'll remind you of a certain fluid) and will retain its flavor, but it will not have the mouthfeel because the gelatin that provides that is what's trapping the goo.

      You can do the same technique on other fluids (e.g. celery juice) by using a little gelatin or agar. Agar filters faster.

      9 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        Agreed that losing a decent amount of your volume is pretty inevitable, though the idea is to keep your volume loss under 50% by controlling the amount of gelatin in the stock - a super gelatinous stock is less than ideal for ice filtration because of how much volume you lose, whereas a stock that just barely sorta sets as it cools gives better yield.

        Incidentally, you can add gelatin back into the fully clarified stock to adjust the mouthfeel back to that of a traditional consomme.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          At least on video Blumenthal doesn't appear to modify the stock beforehand and his losses are considerable. I've been playing with tiny quantities of xanthan to increase viscosity; not quite there yet.

          I forgot to mention to the OP that the process goes faster when using smaller blocks of stock.

          1. re: wattacetti

            I don't really mean that you should modify a stock before clarifying it. Just that there's no reason to try to get a ton of gelatin into the stock since more gelatin just means less yield. Of course, limiting gelatin in a stock is often at odds with creating flavor, which (I'm assuming) is why Heston might use a more gelatinous stock and just put up with low yield.

            And even in the best case scenario, you're always going to have a decent loss of yield if you use or create enough gelatin to get the clarification trick to work. 50% is a very high loss is all.

            I'm not following you - what's the intent behind using xanthan gum in this process?

            1. re: cowboyardee

              To increase viscosity without significantly clarity of the liquid.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Yes. I'm serving in clear double-chamber glasses.

        2. re: wattacetti

          Much to my surprise, I yielded 5 cups starting out with 6 cups of frozen stock. I've since read about the agar method and just bought some to give it a whirl.

          http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/07/...

          I've also had great success using a CrockPot, and allowing the stock to simmer 18 hours. Best part of roasting the meat and bones is that it "sets" the proteins in a way that there's not even the tiniest bit of scum to remove, and the resulting stock is much clearer.

          1. re: RelishPDX

            Relish - how did you end up using the stock? I'm browning chicken and veg as per heston's recipe right now and dithering about what to make with it.

          2. So how much stock does the recipe yield? Six cups? Thanks.

            1. Followed Hestons directions, I used Silicone cupcake molds to freeze stock. 48 hours later beautiful lamb consumee .