Tag Archives: brown stock

The Saucier’s take on Green Pork Posole…

The Saucier’s take on Green Pork Posole…

Today in A Saucier’s Take on Green Pork Posole… we will take a culinary classic and meld it together with a classic home cooked Mexican dish.

Posole is a beautiful home cooked and quick Mexican cuisine.  Usually quick, relatively speaking, a broth cooked in an hour.  I LOVE it..  I LOVE the flavors.  But I am a lover of stocks, sauces and beautiful rich soups so it was time for me to put the Saucier’s take on this classic.

So today, we tackle phase 1. The broth!


The heart and soul of most classic French soups is the stock. I am doing a derivation of the classic brown beef or veal stock to meet my needs. I am replacing the classic beef knuckle or leg bones with a good, meaty pork “neck bone” from a local Mexican market. These consist of rib ends, chine bones and split spinal bones. As with any brown stock, you must roast the bones. You are bringing the maillard reaction into play. What is the Maillard reaction you say? I am glad you asked!!!


The Maillard reaction is a culinary phenomenon that occurs when proteins in meat are heated to temperatures of 310°F or higher, causing them to turn brown. Named for the French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who discovered the process at the start of the 20th century, the Maillard reaction is similar to the process of caramelization, where carbohydrates like sugar turn brown when heated.±


Thank you Louis-Camille for your assistance tonight.


I digress. I tend to do that. Digress? Oh yeah! Stocks! The classic Escoffier brown stock includes beef or veal knuckle bones or joint bones, mirepoix (2 parts onion, 1 part carrot and 1 part celery) tomatoes or tomato paste for acid and fresh herbs and dried spices such as parsley, thyme bay leaves and black pepper corns, which is then roasted or caramelized to a nice golden brown to bring out the bold flavors, with a splash of red wine and enough water to cover the whole beautiful mess. We are turning that on its head with the BROTH that we are making here. Time for another culinary term:

Bit of Culinary Knowledge:

Broth vs. Stock. A stock is a flavorful liquid made from bones, aromatic vegetables, water, herbs and spices. Stocks are the basis for many classic cuisine dishes and are generally not served on their own. Why bones? Bones and the connective tissue that surrounds those bones contain large volumes of collagen, a protein which will, when exposed to simmering water over a period of time, dissolve from the bones and tissues giving the stock its body and richness. A good stock, when chilled will be thick and resemble a gelatin dessert. A broth is a flavorful liquid made from bones AND MEAT, aromatic vegetables, water, herbs and spices. Broths can be components of a dish OR can stand alone as a dish on their own.

On track again. The broth we are making today replaces the beef bones with the afore mentioned pork neck bones with a considerable amount of attached meat. The classic mirepoix is being transformed into a sofrito.


Sofrito is the secret ingredient in many Latin Caribbean dishes and it’s so easy to make. It’s a versatile, aromatic puree of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic. ±±

To the onion, carrot and celery combination, we add poblano chilies and garlic. So while not meeting a classic definition of a sofrito, as it does not contain tomatoes, nor is it blended, it’s also no longer a mirepoix.



Next, we are replacing the parsley stems and fresh thyme with more classic Mexican ingredients of oregano sprigs and coriander. I happen to have cilantro on the back end of its productive life and is therefore now going to seed. And yes, those seeds are coriander seeds. Completely different flavors. With the fresh coriander seed, you still get the hint of cilantro with a very bright coriander flavor. The peppercorns are enhanced with dried coriander seed and dried cumin seeds as well as the fresh bay leaf that we have in our back yard garden. It’s pretty amazing that fresh bay leaf actually tastes like something more than notebook paper!

Next replacement? We are making a green posole, and one of the basics of that is the tomatillo salsa that is added to the soup at service. We are incorporating tomatillo in place of the tomato for acidity. This will bring that signature tartness of the tomatillo to a bold flavored broth.

Last but not least. Wine. The tannic and fruity red wine is replaced by a dry white wine. We still cook the alcohol out but we have that little extra sweetness, without coloring the broth.


So now, as I type away on this bad boy, we will let it cook overnight for further processing tomorrow. A good brown stock needs a MINIMUM of 8 hours with those thick bones. The pork bones are not near so big, so you could get away with less cook time. We will give it the full time to extract that maximum flavor from the vegetables and meat and as much of the collagen as possible from the bones. One last important factor with a stock. We do NOT boil stocks! We simmer stocks, starting with cold water to more slowly dissolve the proteins without setting them, and bring up to just a simmer.  How much water?  Just enough to cover.

On that note? It’s been a long day and my posole broth has several more hours to brew!



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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Culinary 101 – Mastering the Brown- Sauce Espagnole

Culinary 101 – Mastering the Brown- Sauce Espagnole

Okay, so we have covered some of the more simple sauces, stocks and roux.  That covers 3 of the 5 mother sauces, Veloute, Bechamel and Tomate.  On the complicated scale, this is next in line.  Sauce Espagnole or Brown Sauce.

Your Brown Sauce is the basis for the rich and hearty sauces that are common place with the red meats and rich foods.  We all LOVE rich foods right?

Okay.  Now for the different stuff.  Your last two roux based sauces used Blonde and White roux.  Now we roll with the brown roux.  We are looking for color and flavor.  Not only that, this roux will add a twist.  You are going to make your roux with the veggies still in the pan!  Don’t fear.  It is not as complex as it sounds.  We are going to make a gallon of the good stuff today.

Let’s start with Mise en Place. Yes, I am going to continue to hammer that word.  It’s really that important.

For this recipe you need the following:

  • 1 lb. onion, medium dice (remember how to dice an onion?  No?  Check out the meat loaf article for a refresher)
  • 8 oz. carrot, medium dice
  • 8 oz. of celery, medium dice
  • 8 oz. butter
  • 8 oz. bread flour
  • 6 qt of your brown stock (warm)
  • 8 oz. tomato puree
  • Sachet of the following
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 6-8 parsley stems
    • Tie it into a bag of cheese cloth bag

Okay.  Time for some culinary talk.  What is a medium dice?  We are not talking about what you toss on the craps tables, and that word is tossed around in the kitchen world like animal crackers in a day care.  Let’s get down to the technical side of it.  There are 2 different categories of square cut items.  Brunoise and Diced.  It’s all a matter of size.

  • Fine Brunoise is 1/16” x 1/16” square
  • Brunoise is 1/8” x 1/8” square
  • Small Dice is ¼” x ¼”  square
  • Medium Dice is ½” x ½” square
  • Large Dice is ¾” x ¾” square

Why do you want to cut things so accurately?  Simple answer.  When you are cooking vegetables you want them to all cook to the same doneness at the same time. If you have 25 different sizes of vegetable, you will have 25 different times that the vegetables will be done.  Now that we have addressed the size of the cuts, let’s make our sauce!

Sauté your Mirepoix….  Culinary term again huh?  Mirepoix is the base for the majority of all French food.  It consists of Onion, Celery and Carrot.  The ratio of this is 2 parts onion to 1 part each of celery or carrot.  A classic mirepoix variation includes using leeks instead of onions.  Okay, now sauté it until brown in your butter.  One more time with the culinary terms, cause I just don’t have enough to tell ya right?  Sauté.
Sounds simple enough right?  Sauté is defined as cooking quickly in a small amount of fat.  The key word there is small.  You want medium high heat and small amount of fat; otherwise you are just frying your food.

Now back to your regularly scheduled food program.  Now that you have your well browned vegetables, add your flour.  Cook your flour to a brown roux.  You want the roux to be the color of milk chocolate.  Watch your roux carefully.  The darker it gets, the quicker it will cook.  It is real easy to go from brown to burned.

Now that the roux is brown, it’s time to start with the stock.  Gradually stir in your WARM brown stock; putting it in cold to your hot roux can cause clumping; and your tomato puree, stirring constantly until the pot comes to a boil.  Now reduce your heat to a simmer, and add your sachet.  Skim of whatever foam, fat or other things from the top, and cook slowly uncovered, for about 2 hours, or until it reduces down to about 1 gallon.

Now that it’s all done, you need to strain out the “stuff” that’s left over.  I use a china cap, lined with cheese cloth or a chinoise strainer.  If you do not have one of these tools, don’t worry.  Grab the biggest colander you have, and line it in several layers of cheese cloth.  Put the colander over your container of choice and slowly pour your sauce into the container.  When you are down to the cooked veggies, you can press them gently with a ladle to get the good juice out, but don’t press them through the strainer.

Cool your sauce and cover it.  Now you can use this wonderful mother sauce to make a TON of things.  The most classic first thing?  Demi-Glace.  That yummy, rich brown stuff that is common on French meat.  Easy stuff.  Mix equal parts Brown Sauce and Brown stock.  Cook it until it reduces by half.  Strain it just like you did your Brown Sauce, and you have Demi.

What other wonderful classic sauces can you make?  Here are a few:

  • Sauce Bordelaise:  1 cup red wine, reduced ¾, 2 oz. shallots, ¼ tsp. crushed peppercorns, pinch of dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, add 1 qt demi-glaze, simmer 20 minutes, and strain, finish with 2 oz. of whole butter.
  • Sauce Robert:  Cook 4 oz. onions without browning in butter.  Add 1 cup white wine and reduce 2/3.  Add 1 qt demi-glaze simmer 10 minutes.  Strain and add 2 tsp. dry mustard and a pinch of sugar dissolved in a little lemon juice.
  • Sauce Diable:  Reduce by 2/3 1 cup white wine, 4 oz. shallots, ½ tsp. crushed peppercorns, add 1 qt demi-glaze simmer 20 minutes.  Strain and season with cayenne pepper.
  • Sauce Madeira:  Reduce 1 qt demi-glaze by ½ cup.  Add 3 to 4 ounces of Madeira wine.
  • Port Wine:  See Madeira.  Substitute Port Wine.
  • Mushroom:  Sauté 8 oz. mushrooms and 1 oz. shallots in 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Add 1 qt of demi-glaze and simmer 10 minutes.  Add 2 oz. sherry and a few drops of lemon juice.

The varieties of small sauces are as varied as the ingredients that you can imagine using.  Don’t be afraid of the sauce man!

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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