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Help!! ...with my Mirepoix please

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Until I can afford culinary school, I'm going through some basics on my own, with The Professional Chef as my guide. Right now just working with a very basic vegetable stock to learn about balancing those base flavors.

 

Over and over again, I keep picking up an unpleasant flavor that I'm 99.99% sure is coming from the celery. It's kicking in at about 45-60 mins (out of a 2 hour simmer, as recommended by TPC). The flavor is very hard to describe, since it's like few things I've ever tasted before. The only thing it reminds me of is a taste I got a long time ago by adding a bunch of leek tops to a soup as an experiment. It's sort of between sweet and sour, but isn't actually acidic. It certainly seems like a cooked celery type of taste, but it's a nasty flavor that I've never tasted in a professionally made soup, stock or broth. Wish I could tell you more, but that's the thing with taste right?

 

All I know is it's a weird and unpleasant taste, and I don't know what to do about it!

 

For reference, my ingredients are:

 

yellow onion

carrot

celery

(all the above locally grown and fresh)

 

I'm sweating the carrot and onion in some clarified butter before adding the celery and water. At about an hour (but after the weird taste shows up), adding;

 

thyme

bay

parsley stems

cracked pepper

a small amount of garlic

 

By the end the off taste is by no means prominent, but I can still find it, especially in the finish. Anyone out there with experience in stock-making who knows what I'm referring to, and how to fix it?

 

Thanks!

 

-home chef/aspiring professional

post #2 of 7

First of all, I don't know anyone that makes a 2 hour veg stock.  45 to an hour should be sufficient.  As far as the flavor goes, it sounds as if youre doing everything right.  For me, I would sweat your veg add all aromatics and water simmer for 45 and strain.  Another great beginning reference book on the basics is...

 

http://www.amazon.com/Jacques-P%C3%A9pins-Complete-Techniques-P%C3%A9pin/dp/1579121659

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! I was doing 2 hours based on The Professional Chef recommending to add mirepoix 2 hours before the end of simmering a meat stock for max flavor, so maybe it's a bit different with a straight vegetable stock. I appreciate the help :)

post #4 of 7

Are you adding the celery leaves as well?  Sometimes the leaves take on a bitter strange taste after they've cooked for a long time.  Cut off the leaves and add them after you've turned off the heat.  Parsley stems can also give off a strange flavor.

 

There's nothing wrong with making a 2hr stock but it's not always necessary. 

 

Something else that is really nice (crucial in my book) to add to veggie stock is a Tbsp of tomato paste.  Also some white wine or vermouth adds more dimension.  Another variation is instead of sweating the veggies you can roast them before you put them in the pot. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 7

Sorry my ignorance, but why do you sauté the onions and carrots?

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #6 of 7

Probably more of a sweat than a sauté. Releases flavor components?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

Sorry my ignorance, but why do you sauté the onions and carrots?

Chef,
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 #7 of 7

I'd say the leaves as well, and possibly because they've been sprayed and the leaves, being more rough-textured, hold the insecticides or fungicides or whatever they are more and are harder to wash off than from the stalks.  I often find traces of green on celery - like what is it called, -verdegris?  the copper oxide they use on certain vegetables? 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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