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Mirepoix - is there a recommended dilution?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Perhaps it's a silly question, but when making up a mirepoix, I see the 2:1:1 ratio that's normally given, what I haven't seen is how that relates to quantity of stock produced.

I think you guys normally use the term yield? In order to give me a baseline to work from, what for example is the yield of stock you'd expect if you started off with just the 2 onions, 1 celery stick and 1 carrot as the base quantity?
post #2 of 16

Mire poix

If I understand your question correctly, the amount of mire poix won't really have an effect on how much stock you end up with. The flavor of the stock will be condensed by evaporation of the liquid over a period of time.

Since most of our stocks are made from the saved scraps of vegetables from other preparations, we rarely measure the mire poix. The rule of thumb is to put all ingredients into a pot and add just enough water to cover. Otherwise, the more mire poix, the more flavorful the resulting stock. Never add salt to stock, as it will be used in other preparations that may include salt.

Spend more time concentrating on the cooking method, keeping a soft low simmer to your stock, extracting more flavors, than worrying about measurements.

Search YouTube for ChefToddMohr, I have a vegetable stock video there among 160 other cooking videos.

Chef Todd Mohr
post #3 of 16
I'm not a fan of exact measurements, and it pains me to disagree even slightly with Chef Tod, but your intuition that rough proportions do count is correct.

Very roughly about 4 cups of mirepoix per 2-1/2 - 3-1/2 gallons volume (10 - 14 cups -- including meat and bones.). For most home cooks using average size vessels and veg, that works out to one large onion, one celery stalk, and one large carrot (not to mention, one chicken!) per average home stock pot.

You may want to alter your mirepoix proportions for any number of reasons. For instance a "blanc," which is white chicken stock, is made with no carrots, in order to keep the stock very lightly colored. On the other hand, roasted chicken stock often has extra carrots to keep the stock looking more chicken than beef.

You may also want to roast your mirepoix on occasion -- for a different, more intense flavor. This is something one (nearly) always does with beef and brown stock.

As long as we're on the subject of chicken stock (don't know why I brought it up), here's an important mirepoix tip: Get the chicken in the pot without any mirepoix or herbs and bring it to the simmer. Skim the scum and discard. Give it another five minutes or so to see if more scum develops. If it does, allow more time for the scum to fully develop, then skim and discard. Now add your mirepoix and herbs. (This technique prevents the vegetables from being contaminated by the scum, and from being removed during the skimming process.).

If, after all the flavor is taken from the chicken, concentrate the stock with the mirepoix in, but the chicken removed. This will result in a much better, rounder flavored stock.

Finally, when you strain the stock, press the vegetables in the sieve to make sure their essence goes with the stock.

Don't let it boil,
BDL
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for bearing with me :)

The reason I posted was this. I was looking to make a very basic vegetable stock using just these 3 base ingredients - just to start building up a little discipline and flavour awareness. I did this before the weekend adapting very slightly a vegetable stock recipe, and using 3 liters. Then my intention was to reproduce this, only the next time, introduce a bouqet garni at the point of simmering and compare the two, just in order to begin to gauge the impact of the bouqet garni. It just seemed to be a starting point.

I have no direct reference, but as it progressed the aroma became pleasing and seemed to meet my expectation on some level. It seemed to be going fine.

The resultant taste itself though was less flavourful than I had initially expected the goal to be. I don't think that further simmering would itself have done much more. I have even read elsewhere that overdoing the simmering can adversely affect the taste. I didn't press the vegetables when straining, so that was a mistake that I understand would have diminished the possibilites of the final stock.

PS. Is it acceptable to use a dry bayleaf alongside other fresh herbs when making up a bouquet garni?

Thanks
Andy
post #5 of 16
Just do not use too much celery. Celery is the most noticeable if you use too much.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quick additional question for BDL - if you do happen to pop back in and read this, would you mind giving me an idea of what size you consider an average home stock pot to be?

To Kuan :) Thanks for the tip, I'm very respectful of celery, it's not my favourite taste when it's raw, but I do appreciate it in this form.

Tks.
post #7 of 16
Vegetable stock is a whole different animal and shouldnt be looked at in the same way since there is no protien in it. When making veggie stocks I fill a pot with veggies and then fill it with water, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and let it go uncovered for 45 minutes. If you want color in it add tomato, if you want roast notes roast your veggies in the oven with tomato paste until nicely charred, and if you want it fairly clear use onions, leeks, celery, squash and zucchini and mushrooms. A bouquet garni will work and I like Bay Leaf in my stocks. Vegetable stocks in general are fairly mild unless you start to add dominant flavors like tomato, roasted veggies, and intense shrooms.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #8 of 16
Just wanted to add that I read this tip awhile back on this message board and have started doing it with my stocks and it has made a big difference- SO much easier to skim the scum on top. Thanks!
post #9 of 16
10 qts is barely big enough to be useful, 20 qts is a pain to wrangle. 16 is a useful all around size. I have a 12 (as part of a 4 part set -- pot, 2 strainers, lid), a 16 and a 20.

You NEED a 4 part set -- it's beaucoup useful. You don't have to spend a mint on a full-on multiply, but at least get one with a heavy disk bottom. Then add an inexpensive stainless 16 qt (4 gal), and you're good to go for stocks, tamales, pasta, lobsters, boils, you name it.

BDL
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Great, loads of good information to get to grips with there. :)

I'm finding it a little difficult to find frames of reference for some of this stuff, such as understanding how intense a flavour should be - but I'll get there. :cool:

I hadn't even considered pans as big as those BDL. My biggest stock pan is a 4 litre multi-pan with a strainer insert for pasta, and a steamer & lid. I do feel that sometimes it's a little cramped. There's a nice similarly designed 7 litre le creuset multi-pan that I've seen on offer in a couple of places - equates to roughly around 140 us dollars and that's still just under 2 US gallons.

Other than that, my known domestic suppliers don't seem to favour larger pans.

I'd appreciate suggestions from anybody in the know, as to where there is a trusted UK site that retails larger pan sizes that are known to be good quality at a fair price.

NB. I do also look things up elsewhere, but books and pre-prepared material sometimes just repeat myths and bad advice. I feel more competently directed by you folks - I am grateful.
post #11 of 16
Andydude, you may have to go to a restaurant supply house to find what you need.

But first, check anyplace that sells what you'd call a preserving kettle. They usually handle larger stock pots as well.

Although I prefer a heavier pot, particularly a heavy-bottomed one, you can use a preserving kettle to make stock. Their downside (in addition to being lightweight construction) is the size. Typically they are 20-22 quarts, and if you don't fill them up skimming can be a chore.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 16
BDL
In a lot of quality places the first boil of the poutlry for stock is not skimmed. but totaly disgarded rather then skimmed, Then as you said the mirepoix and bouquet garni are added then simmered. We have found this way better then skimming to get all the impurities and albumin off and produce a better and clearer stock.:D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #13 of 16
Try one of the John Lewis Partnership stores. (I don't know where you live, so don't know your nearest) They have lots of ranges of pans and a good selection of stock pots, jam kettles etc.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks all - great suggestions.
post #15 of 16
FWIW, "The Professional Chef", 7th Edition (C.I.A.), page 293, has the following for 1 gallon (3.75 l) of Vegetable Broth:

6-8 pounds (2.75-3.6 kg) vegetables to 4 quarts (3.75 l) cool liquid
1 pound (450 grams) mirepoix
1 standard sachet d'épices or bouquet garni
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Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Cheers PeterMcCracken, :)

Okay, I'm about ready to move on. I removed a question from post #4 because it wasn't phrased correctly, not least I think because I was struggling to understand myself what it was I wanted to ask. I have found myself to be surprised by the relative subtlety of this cornerstone blend of flavours and still wonder how it is that this highly valued building block actually achieves the impact that is desired of it.

From those searches I have made, when anybody describes a mirepoix, it is to do so technically, rarely if ever to describe what it brings to a dish. The value I probably recall most is a quite gentle, but pleasant slightly peppery warmth that I supposed to be the celery stepping forwards a little and politely announcing itself. Perhaps because I don't really like raw celery I am a little more sensitive to this aspect.

I'm not even sure if I should be consciously aware when eating a dish, that it has a mirepoix at it's base, or if it's more subtle than that and it's job is to gently enhance other flavours and leave the diner to speculate that it must have been a component.

If I obsess a little, it's only because to date my palette lacks an education, and It's an element that I am concerned may hold me back.
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