Mar 23, 2007

Stocks : Foundations in French Cooking

Auguste Escoffier said "Les fonds sont pour la cuisine, ce que les fondations sont pour la maison"

which means "Stocks are to cooking what foundations are to a house".

Stocks, Fonds in French, are indispensibles in the classic French Cuisine. They are aromatic liquids used in the preparation of classic sauces and to moisten culinary preparations.
Fonds are made by using bones, trimmings and vegetables in water to have them release their flavor thanks to the combined actions of Time and Heating. Some preparations may take as long as 12 hours, as the Fond Brun de Veau for example ("Brown Veal Stock").

There are two types of stocks : brun (brown) or blanc (white).

Fonds bruns (brown stocks), called brown where the principal elements are first browned in the oven or on the stove top. The process of heating sugars and amino acids together is called the Maillard reaction, from Louis-Camille Maillard (early 20th century). Besides the color change, the combination creates the "meaty" flavor. The Maillard reaction occurs between 300F (148C) and 500F (260C).
These different kinds of bones can be used for brown stocks :

  • Veal bones = fond de veau brun
  • Beef bones = braisiere
  • Games bones = fond de gibier
  • Chicken bones = fond de volaille brun.

These vegetables are used for brown stocks :

  • Carrot (carotte)
  • Onion (oignon)
  • Tomato (tomate)
  • Garlic (ail)
  • Bouquet garni.

Fonds blanc (white stocks), called like that since the principle elements have been blanched (that is, placed in cold water, brought to boil and drained). One exception for fish bones because of their weakness.

White stocks can be made with :

  • Veal bones (fond de veau blanc)
  • Chicken bones (fond de volaille blanc)
  • Beef bones (marmite*)
  • Fish bones (fumet).

*a Marmite is a pot

These vegetables are used for white stocks :

  • Carrot (carotte), one exception in the Fumet
  • Onion (oignon)
  • leek (poireau)
  • celery (celeri)
  • bouquet garni.

You can have a look on this web site ( to find recipes of stocks.

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