fundamentals of cookery: week 4 reflection

Goals: My goals for this week are to not get sick and not fall behind. This is still my main goal. This class is really pushing me, and I want to make it to the end. For me, a lot of it is about time management, and making sure I get enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t learn as well or perform as well in class, and I also feel bad. I’m also going to work on being faster and more organized.

Expectations: Next week is poultry, and I’m sure there will be lots of challenges with cooking it properly. Chef said he might be moving us around too, so I expect that will take some getting used to. It will be different working in a station with new people. I expect it to be another hard and tiring week.

Reflection of Experiences:

Thankfully, Friday was not a crazy day. We worked on vegetables, and I’ve cooked all the vegetables we worked on so that made it seem easier. The cooking methods were all new though, so it wasn’t that easy. Overall, my vegetables came out pretty well. My cauliflower was almost overcooked, which I realized as I was sloshing it in the ice bath; I noticed the stems bending a bit, and Chef pointed out how the florets start to separate when it’s almost overcooked. My carrots Vichy needed a little more reduction, and my spinach needed a little more salt. I think I should have caught the seasoning on the spinach, but I was rushing a bit. I need to pay more attention to seasoning next time. I was tired because I didn’t get to sleep as much, so I’m glad I made it through the day and through the vegetables.

On Tuesday, I felt really tired even though I slept a lot. I think I am on the verge of getting sick. I need to get through this week. Anyway, today we made ratatouille, which was a lot of work. There was a lot of prep since there are so many vegetables in it. We also went to the herb garden to gather fresh herbs. At first my mushrooms weren’t brown enough, so Chef said to re-sear them. They came out a nice dark brown after that. I made sure to sear the other vegetables well too. The rest of the recipe went pretty well, and it tasted pretty good. Afterwards we had to deconstruct a chicken. It took me 18 minutes. The chickens were not that cold, so it was harder to work with. I still don’t like deconstructing the thigh/drumstick part. It’s hard to get the meat off the bones in that area. Later, during cleanup, we finished really fast today. Maybe it’s because we moved stations?

Wednesday was a hard day. I had a lot of trouble with things. First, it took me three tries to truss a chicken. I finally got it the third time, but it was not easy. My main problem was not making the string tight enough. Next time I have to truss, I’m going to make it as tight as I can. Then, I overcooked my roast chicken to 190 degrees, so I think it came out a little dry. The one thing that went well was the pan gravy. It had good color, consistency, and flavor. My stock was not reduced enough. I should have put it back on the stove to reduce, but I was trying to get going on the rest of the chicken we had to cook, so I never got around to it. I also had some trouble with some of my breading. I think some of the flour came off in the egg wash so there were spots that weren’t breaded. I tried to bread those pieces again, but then the breading got a little soggy. Also, for some reason I had extra chicken. I don’t know where it came from. It’s as if my chicken had three breasts. Lastly, when I pan fried the chicken breast, one side was more brown than the other, so Chef said to do it again tomorrow. At least it was cooked, juicy, and well seasoned. I guess today I had an off day. I’m just glad I made it through the day without burning myself with oil or anything like that.

Thursday was actually a really good day. After a rough day on Wednesday, I went into Thursday a lot more focused and determined to finish the deep fried chicken, pan fried chicken, and sautéed chicken tenders before class. The night before I tried to plan out in my mind how to do this efficiently so I wouldn’t run out of time. Things pretty much went as I planned, and I was able to finish cooking the chicken before class. Overall, the chicken was cooked pretty well, except my pan fried breast was missing some breading because it was one of the pieces not breaded as well from yesterday. Chef said my chicken was seasoned well; it wasn’t very pleasant tasting the flour yesterday, but I guess it paid off! Then, we worked on grilling chicken and deconstructing duck. The deconstruction was pretty similar to chicken; I think I’m finally starting to have a better feel for deconstructing chicken and duck. My grilled chicken was the disappointment of the day; the grill marks were really weak. I needed to turn the heat up more. The flavor was not bad though. Then, the roasted duck thighs and pan seared duck breast both went pretty well; I got some nice color and skin crisping on both. Finally, we worked on steaming medium grain rice, brown rice, and wild rice. Those were pretty easy. Today is the first day I successfully multi-tasked, and as a result, had time to eat! The sweet taste of success – pan seared duck breast, grilled chicken, and some white rice. I think being more focused really made a difference – I was more organized, more efficient, planned my tasks better, and overall had better execution.

Positive Experiences:

This week, Thursday was a very positive day. As I mentioned above, I did a better job of being organized and multi-tasking, so I cooked my chicken from Wednesday, got my food into the oven quicker, had more time to keep my area clean, and had time to actually eat. Even Kelly said, “Wow, today you are fast!” It felt good to be on top of things today and also to bounce back from a rough day on Wednesday.

Humbling Moments:

The whole Wednesday was kind of humbling. Except for the pan gravy, I didn’t execute well on Wednesday, as I mentioned above. I haven’t been feeling that great this week, so maybe that’s why things didn’t go well today. I wasn’t on top of things today, my station got messy, and I had more trouble than usual. It felt like most things were a struggle, which isn’t how I normally feel. Also, it definitely felt like the clock was against me today. I have to try to be more focused and organized.

Of the things that I learned this week, I am best prepared to demonstrate to someone else? (list in bullet form)

-Green/Wax Beans
-Truss Chicken
-Roast Chicken
-Pan Gravy
-Pan Seared Duck Breast
-Roasted Duck Thighs

What feedback did I receive from my instructor and how did I use the information to improve my performance?

For the vegetables, Chef said my carrots Vichy needed about 20 seconds more reduction, so I put it back on the heat, and it came out better. Also, he said my spinach wasn’t seasoned enough so I went back, added salt, and tasted it again. I will try to pay more attention to reduction and seasoning this week.

For the ratatouille, Chef said to re-sear my mushrooms to get them browner. That was the first one we seared, so after I re-seared them, they turned out a lot better, and I paid more attention to getting really brown bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Properly seared vegetables are really important for this dish, so it was good that Chef pointed that out so I could correct it.

On Wednesday, things got crazy and my station was getting messy. Chef told me to have a pie tin for my utensils, which I should have known to do. I made sure to remember that on Thursday, and I’ll try not to forget again.

fundamentals of cookery: week 3 reflection

Goals: My goals for this week are to not get sick and not fall behind. I’m going to work on being faster and more organized.

Expectations: I expect this week to be even harder. Things are getting busier and busier. If I don’t start working faster, I’m going to fall behind. Soups sound a lot more complicated.

Reflection of Experiences:

Friday was a hard day. We worked on Espagnole and Tomato sauce. I felt like I was behind the whole day, and I didn’t even get to finish my onion cuts. I also had some trouble with my espagnole. I didn’t caramelize the vegetables enough, didn’t cook the roux well, and didn’t cook the tomato puree enough. The tomato sauce went pretty well, but I felt like time was against me, so it was kind of stressful. Even though the day had some bumps, it was still a good day. I could have come an hour earlier to finish my vegetable cuts, but I needed the sleep. I made it to Friday without getting sick, so that’s the most important thing. Today a bunch of people were missing, so the kitchen felt a little empty, and cleanup was harder. It’s hard to see people miss class. Hopefully all of us can make it through the rest of the class.

Tuesday was a “slow” day, according to Chef, but it was good for me because I had a chance to catch up. I finally finished my vegetable cuts. I think I’m getting faster, but I need more practice. Then, we worked on Hollandaise. I don’t understand who thought this sauce was a good idea. It’s hard to make, breaks spontaneously, has such specific temperature requirements, and doesn’t taste that great. If it tasted great, I would understand more I think. Maybe everyone else thinks it tastes great. Anyway, the hardest part is whisking the eggs and water over the double boiler. It’s really difficult to do that figure-8 motion. Eventually, I whipped it enough, and then my arms got a serious workout stirring the mixture as I added the clarified butter. Then, just as I finished seasoning, Chef told us to put our sauces away. I tried to keep it in a warm place, but by the time I got back to it, the bottom had cooled too much. I showed Chef, and he added some warm water to it. Amazingly, it came back to life. I guess that gives me hope that this is isn’t an impossible sauce. After that we worked on French Onion Soup. I made sure to pay attention to the caramelization step after last week’s Espagnole, and it paid off. The soup was delicious and had nice color and flavor. It’s nice to do something right and then eat it.

Wednesday was a tiring day. We worked on Cuban Black Bean Soup, Split Pea Soup, and Lentil Ragout, one right after another. I don’t feel like I fell behind today, but the whole time it felt very busy. I wanted to take a short break to drink some soup, but I didn’t want to fall behind, so I just kept going. My split pea soup was initially under-reduced and my lentil ragout was over reduced because it sat around for a while. I simmered my split pea soup longer, and I added some water to the lentil ragout; they turned out okay after those fixes. It’s tricky getting things to the right reduction. I’ve never had a lentil ragout, so that was new; it tasted pretty good. At the end of the day I was tired and hungry. I hope I can work faster on Thursday so I can enjoy a nice bowl of clam chowder.

Thursday was really busy. It’s hard to get the timing right when we’re working on three soups in one day. I was trying to start my New England Clam Chowder before finishing my consommé, but the consommé was done earlier, so I had to take care of that or else it would over-reduce. Then, for the prep, I tried to consolidate prep for common ingredients, but you also have to consider which recipe is being made first. There’s a tricky balance between getting one recipe on first and trying to prep for multiple recipes. Anyway, I was just glad that I finished my three soups in time and didn’t make any major errors. My station got pretty messy though, so I want to keep it cleaner. I don’t like having a messy station. I didn’t have much time to enjoy the clam chowder, but at least I managed to eat a few bites in between all the cooking.

Positive Experiences:

I really enjoyed making the French Onion Soup. I got really good caramelization on it, and that was nice because caramelization is something I’ve been trying to work on. I also enjoyed the smells of this soup a lot. Mostly, I really enjoyed eating it. It felt good to eat something delicious that I made.

Another positive experience was not falling behind on Wednesday. Wednesday was really busy, but I was more organized and faster in gathering and prepping everything. I made sure to check things off as I went and tried to pick up several things in one trip. I think those things helped me in not falling behind like I did last Friday. I felt more in control and less frenzied. I’m glad I made it through the day and finished the three soups.

Humbling Moments:

On Friday, my Espagnole and demi glaze didn’t come out well because I didn’t caramelize well and didn’t cook the roux well. I was bummed out about that because it wasn’t the first time we’d caramelized or cooked roux. Those steps are really important in developing the flavor and achieving the right thickness in the final product.

On Wednesday, When I took my split pea soup up, I thought it was good, but Chef didn’t even need to taste it to know it was not reduced enough. It’s a good lesson to pay more attention to the consistency and appearance of the final product, because my memory for that kind of thing is not that good. I’m going to try to take more notes about that and see if that helps.

Of the things that I learned this week, I am best prepared to demonstrate to someone else? (list in bullet form)

-French Onion Soup
-Cuban Black Bean Soup
-Lentil Ragout
-New England Clam Chowder
-Manhattan Clam Chowder

What feedback did I receive from my instructor and how did I use the information to improve my performance?

When we made the split pea soup and lentil ragout, Chef told me the reductions were wrong, so I had to fix them. The split pea I put back on the heat to reduce more so it would be thicker. The lentil ragout I had to add water to because it was too thick. Those changes brought them to the correct consistencies. I’ll try to remember that in the future when my reductions aren’t correct. On Thursday, my reductions seemed better, but it’s still hard to tell how much to reduce things. Chef said we can mark the pan with a pen, so next time I’ll try that. That’s especially a good idea for soups where we scrape the sides of the pan, because then the original liquid level line gets scraped away, and it can be hard to remember where it originally was.

daily reflection: french onion soup


Rubber mat
Cutting board
Pie Tins
Butcher’s twine
Pitcher with measurement lines

Bay leaves (in sachet)
Beef stock
Chicken stock
Vermouth, Apple Brandy, Brandy, Sherry, or vodka (alcohol)

Step 1: Figure out the amounts you need based on these ratios: 4 oz butter, 4 # sliced onion, ½ G beef stock, ½ G chicken stock, 3-4 oz alcohol. Gather, prepare and measure all your ingredients. Wash the cheesecloth, and prepare a sachet with just bay leaves. You may want to leave a longer end of twine or not cut off as much cheesecloth, so it will be easy to find in the soup at the end. If you are using base to make the stocks, measure 1.5 tsp per quart, and use a whisk to mix well. Step 2 will talk about how to slice the onions.

Step 2: Slice the onions. First cut the onion in half, pole to pole, through the root. Next, put the onions on their flat side down and remove the root by cutting a small wedge around it.

Position the onion so the lines are pointing at you. The plan is to cut with the grain. There are two ways to slice the onion. First, you can use all vertical cuts; place your guiding hand on the onion as normal (fingers curled, holding onion in place), and begin making 1/8” vertical cuts starting at one end of the onion. After you cut past the halfway point of the onion, you may start having trouble holding the onion steady. It may be easier to put the onion down on its other flat side (the side you have created with your cuts) and continue your 1/8” cuts. The other way of slicing the onions is to make radial cuts that all point towards the center of the onion. If you try that, place your guiding hand on the onion; make sure your fingers won’t be cut by any of the more horizontal cuts. Lean over so you can put the knife blade 1/8” from the cutting board; this is like setting up the first horizontal cut for brunoise. Make a cut towards the center of the onion, so the end result is a very thin onion wedge (skinner at the ends, thicker in the middle. Remember to cut with the grain. Make your way around the onion with all your cuts ending at the center of the onion. It might get hard towards the end, so you can just use vertical cuts at that point.

Separate the onions into three groups of equal weight.

Step 3: Place the butter and one group of the onions into a cold pan. Heat it over moderate heat. Let the onions sweat, and then caramelize. Keep the pan and your spatula moving constantly. Remember to keep scraping the sides of the pan as well. Keep an eye on the heat so the onions and butter don’t burn. The goal is a deep caramelization without burning. The onions should get very brown. Through this whole process, if some bits of onion are burned, remove them so they won’t ruin the soup.

Step 4: Add the next group of onions. Keep moving the pan, scraping the sides, and stirring. Cook until this group of onions starts getting a little soft and translucent. You should see some sweating and steaming.

Step 5: Add the last group of onions. Again, keep stirring and moving the pan; get all the new onions mixed in with the others. You don’t need to cook the third batch that long; mainly just make sure it’s all incorporated. There shouldn’t be much butter left at the bottom of the pan, because the onions should have absorbed it.

Step 6: Take the pan OFF THE FLAME, and add the alcohol to your hot pan. Return the pot to the heat. Continue stirring, scraping, and moving the pan. You should continue cooking until a sec. You can also use your nose and smell whether there’s still a lot of alcohol being cooked off. Then, add in the sachet and the broth. Bring it to a boil, and then lower it to a simmer. Let it reduce until it loses about 1/3-1/2 its liquid. Check on the simmer level and scrape the sides periodically.

Step 7: Remove the sachet. Taste the soup. You should mainly taste onion and some sweetness. If you still taste alcohol, you can simmer it longer and cook out more of the alcohol. If appropriate, spoon some out and enjoy. You can serve it with some cheese and french bread on the side.

Reflection: When we started cooking the onions for the soup today, I focused on getting the caramelization right for this recipe, since last week I didn’t caramelize properly for the Espagnole. I paid more attention to the heat, stirred more vigorously, and watched the color carefully. Wow, it paid off! My onions got really good caramelization, and that carried over to the final product, which had nice color and flavor. Now I realize how important the caramelization step is. If that step goes wrong, a lot of times the final product will be seriously lacking in color and flavor. It’s hard though, because it’s really easy to cross over into burning the butter and vegetables. I’m going to keep working on getting better at caramelization. Another thing I found out is I really like French Onion Soup. I’ve had it before, but it was not as full of onion flavor. All day long, all I’ve thought about is this soup and when I can make some more to eat. It felt really good today to have good caramelization and a good final product that I enjoyed eating.

fundamentals of cookery: week 2 reflection

Goals: My goals for this week are to make sure to watch all the videos before class, to sleep early, and not fall behind. I’d also like to keep my area cleaner and remember to keep washing everything in between cuts.

Expectations: I expect the coming week to be a lot harder. We’re going to be working on stocks, sauces, and soups, all of which are a lot more complicated than cutting fruits and vegetables. I feel like if I don’t prepare more, I’m going to make a ton of mistakes and fall behind. It’ll be really important to stay on top of everything, both with prepping before class and executing things during class.

Reflection of Experiences:

Friday was pretty hectic. A lot more people came early today, so the kitchen was already humming along when I got in around 6:15. I finished up my parsley and garlic from yesterday; I was glad to finish that before the demo at 7. Then, the onions, celery, and carrot went pretty well. I had to make some corrections pointed out by Chef Leake, but now I have a good idea of how all the cuts need to turn out. Then things got really crazy when the chickens came out. There wasn’t that much time, and I only had watched the trussing video, not the deconstructing one. I’m definitely going to try not to do that again. It was pretty hard remembering all the steps correctly. I didn’t do a good job on the thigh and drumsticks on my first chicken because of that. Anyway, the day was very busy but still a very good day. I’m pretty psyched about learning how to deconstruct the chicken. I will definitely be trying that at home soon.

Tuesday we made chicken stock and veal stock. It was another busy day, with more multi-tasking since we were making both stocks and had to get things cooking so everything would be done in time. The brown stock took more work, since we had to roast the bones, deglaze the pan several times, and caramelize the vegetables. The caramelized vegetables smelled great. Overall, things went well for me, especially since we got to see Ben’s bones correctly roasted and David warned me about burning my tomato puree. Stock making is satisfying. A lot of times, bones just get thrown away, but we were able to draw out the marrow and good flavor to get something that tastes good and can be used to make many other things.

On Wednesday, we spent some time in the herb gardens learning about herbs and how to harvest them. One day I’d like to grow an herb garden. In the kitchen, we worked on thickening water with all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot slurries; white, blonde, and brown roux; and vegetable cuts. The first slurry I made had black specks because I didn’t clean my pan well enough. I had to remake that one. That was a good lesson, because it’s a big waste of time and materials if the pan isn’t really clean. I enjoyed making the roux because the aromas are very pleasant. I ended up making my brown roux before the blonde roux because I let it cook too far. It’s neat how you can get such a range of smells from butter and flour. For vegetable cuts, I’m still pretty reliant on my ruler, so I need to work on knowing the measurements better.

On Thursday, we started on sauces – Veloute and Bechamel; we also made Liaison, Monte au Beurre, and Mornay from the Bechamel. It was a very busy day of trying to balance speed and control – heating the milk but not letting it burn, reducing the Veloute and Bechamel without taking the whole day but not letting it burn either, keeping the Liaison, Monte au Beurre, and Mornay warm enough but not too warm, and trying to cut vegetables faster but still have accuracy. Things are starting to get harder, so it’s getting more and more important to stay organized and make sure I gather all the correct ingredients. I also need to start working faster so I don’t fall behind. It feels like things are going to start getting pretty crazy in the kitchen.

Positive Experiences:

This week was a good week for my nose. There were some really good aromas throughout the week, and it was a positive experience learning to identify things by smell, and use my sense of smell as a tool in cooking. First, in the herb garden we got to smell all the herbs. Some of them were new scents to me. Next, when we made stock, the roasted veal bones had that nice roasted smell, and the mirepoix caramelizing smelled delicious. The best day was the day we made roux. It smelled like pie crust, shortbread, nuts, and popcorn, and I was able to tell which roux it was by smell. The roux aromas were also very comforting smells. Then, when we made the sauces, everything just smelled delicious, especially the cheesy Mornay. Normally I don’t use my nose that much in cooking, but now I will be sure to use its powers more.

I thought making stocks was another positive experience. It’s something I enjoyed and would like to learn more about. We learned how to make a white stock and a brown stock, and there are so many possibilities for those if they are made well. Personally, I really like the whole process of slowly simmering bones to extract flavor. I’m not sure why, but I’m very drawn to it.

Humbling Moments:

This week, when I showed Chef my julienned carrots, he said good job, and then he called the whole class over to show us how if you bunch the carrot up and look at the tips, you can see all the imperfections. A bunch of mine were too flat or not square. That was good lesson in being more self critical and more aware of the imperfections. Also, even if chef says good job today, that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the goal. There’s always ways to do better, work faster, and improve. Tomorrow chef will expect even better julienned carrots in half the time! That means more practice and more attention to detail, which isn’t easy.

Another thing that happened was I totally forgot to write the reflection part of my daily reflection. That was just being careless and not paying attention. It was a pretty dumb thing to do. It’s harder to pay attention to everything if you’re tired. I was pretty tired this week. I really need to sleep more and pay attention more. Those are some good goals for next week.

Of the things that I learned this week, I am best prepared to demonstrate to someone else? (list in bullet form)

-white chicken stock
-brown veal stock
-water thickened with slurry
-white, blonde, brown roux

What feedback did I receive from my instructor and how did I use the information to improve my performance?

Chef said my celery cuts were too curvy, so I had to go through and flatten them all with my paring knife. I tried to pay more attention to my vegetable cuts after that. This week we did more celery cuts, so I made sure to work on shaving off the curved parts. I haven’t finished those yet, but hopefully they turn out better than last week.

Chef said my veal stock was over-reduced, so when we made sauces I paid more attention to the liquid level. Today I estimated 1 quart pretty well. I don’t know if that was luck or if I’m improving. Either way, now I know to just measure the liquid if I’m not sure.

Then, when I was making the liaison, chef said my heat was too high. Good thing it didn’t burn. That would have been terrible. Anyway, for the Monte de Beurre and the Mornay, I kept an eye on the flame level. I have to remember to keep it low when there’s milk involved.

daily reflection: brown veal stock

everyday we have to choose one recipe, take lots of pictures of it, then write a recipe for it + a reflection on it.



Rubber mat
Cutting board
Pie Tins
Sauté pans
Butcher’s twine
Round Mesh Strainer
Water Pitcher (with measurement lines)

chopped veal bones
sachet (bay leaves, cracked peppercorns, dried thyme, chopped parsley stems)
mirepoix (large dice)
tomato puree
vegetable oil

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Step 2: Weigh out the veal bones on an appropriate scale and write down the weight so you’ll know how much water to add later. The general guideline is that 8 pounds of bones will yield one gallon of stock. For one gallon of stock, you’ll also add 6 ounces of tomato puree (step 7). Do not wash the bones. If they are wet, you should try to dry them with paper towels. If the bones are wet, the bones won’t roast well, and the flavor will be adversely affected. Now add a small amount of oil to the veal bones and mix with your hands to coat all surfaces. Add more oil if necessary. Try to break up any pieces that are stuck together. Next, spread the bones into a single layer in a large sauté pan (use multiple pans if necessary or a roasting pan). Make sure the bones are in a single layer, or else some of them may steam and not roast properly, which means less flavor.

Turn the oven down to 450°F – 475°F. Place the sauté pan(s) onto a rack in the oven and close.

Step 3: Prepare the mirepoix and sachet. Make sure the sachet is tied well with butcher’s twine, so you’ll be able to control when to take it out. You can’t remove spices if they escape into the liquid. Also, remember to wash the cheesecloth first with cold water so the starches in the cheesecloth don’t end up in your stock and affect the flavor.

Step 4: Remember to check on your roasting veal bones so they don’t burn. The total roasting time will probably be around 40 minutes. If the bones burn, your stock will also taste burned, and you might have to start over. Once the bones look browned, take the pan out of the oven carefully.

Carefully pour off any excess oil into a pie pan. Remember to dispose of this oil properly, not down the sink!

If you don’t pour off the oil, the bones will be deep fried instead of roasted, which is undesirable. With one hand and a dry 6x-8x folded towel, hold the sauté pan and move it back and forth on the stove. With the other hand and a spatula, break the bones up and move them about. This will ensure that more than one side of the bones gets browned properly.

Now put the bones back in the oven until they are a nice golden brown. It will probably be another 10-15 minutes. Make sure to check that they are not getting burned. When they look ready, take them out. Drain excess oil into the pie pan again if necessary. Don’t wash the pan!

Step 5: Transfer the bones to a large sauce pan or sauce pot. Use multiple pots of necessary.

Measure the appropriate amount of water in a pitcher with measurement lines. Pour the water over the bones. If there is a little extra water that won’t fit in the pot, keep it on the side and add it in as water evaporates. Put the pot on a stove and bring it to a boil, then bring it down to a simmer. You don’t want to leave it at a boil because the water will evaporate too fast and you won’t get enough flavor from the bones. Add the sachet.

Step 6: Now back to the sauté pan. We need to deglaze it. If there’s still a layer of oil in the pan, blot it with paper towels to remove the oil. You don’t want extra oil in there because we’re going to deglaze with water, and hot oil and water will make a mess. Put the pan on the stove on high heat. Pay attention that none of the fond burns. Add a small amount of water to see if it’s hot enough. If a lot of the water turns to steam right away and sizzles in the pan, it’s hot enough. Add a little more water, enough so you can swish it around in a shallow layer. Using your spatula, scrape up the fond. Pour the deglazed liquid and fond bits into the pot with the veal bones. Do the same deglazing process again to get more of the fond, and put it in the pot with the veal bones.

Step 7: Your sauté pan should be relatively clean now. It shouldn’t have a lot of water either though, because now we’re going to add vegetable oil to the pan. Add enough oil to coat the pan in a light layer of oil. Drop in a vegetable from the mirepoix to test the heat. If it sizzles and there are bubbles, it’s ready. Add the rest of the mirepoix.

With your spatula in one hand, and the pan in your other hand, keep moving the vegetables around so they don’t burn and have even caramelization. Adjust the heat as necessary to make sure nothing burns. Once you smell the sugars, you should lower the heat to moderate because they will more easily burn at this point. If some bits of vegetable are near burning (but not burnt yet), you can remove them earlier and put them into the pot with the veal bones. Don’t put anything burnt into the pot though. Don’t over-caramelize either.

Bunch the vegetables together in one area, then add the tomato puree on top. This is done to prevent the tomato from burning. Continue cooking and stirring the tomato and vegetable mixture.

Keep your eye on the heat, because tomato can burn very easily. You’ll smell acid first, then sugar, and then you really want to watch for burning. Remove the pan from the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Cook the tomato until it’s as dry as possible, then add the tomato and vegetable mixture to the pot with the veal bones.

Give it a stir to make sure all those flavors get incorporated into the stock. It’s okay to stir because brown stock doesn’t have clarity.

Step 8: As the stock simmers, depouillage it as the fat gathers on the sides. Hold the ladle as close to the spoon end as you can so you’ll have good control for turning. Starting in the middle of the pot, push the ladle down about ¼ of the way down of the spoon part, so it’s just sitting on the liquid. Push in a counter-clockwise, then clockwise direction to push the fats toward the edge of the pot. Then go around the side of the pot, and skim off the fat into a pie tin.

Step 9: When the stock is about 1” above the bones, it should be ready. Set up a metal bowl, strainer, and washed cheesecloth as in the picture. Make sure the cheesecloth is big enough for the strainer. Pour the liquid into the cheesecloth, and let the liquid strain out into the metal bowl.

Now we have a bowl of brown veal stock. Taste it. If it’s good, cool it and store or use it.

Reflection: Overall, this recipe came out pretty well today. I think that’s because there were some good examples from other students and also some advice. Ben’s bones roasted very quickly, so we got to see what the bones should look like when properly roasted. I’ve never roasted veal bones, so I wasn’t sure what to look for. I went to look at his bones several times to note the color of the bones. Later, when I was cooking the tomato puree and mirepoix, David told me his burned so watch out for that on mine. I made sure to be more careful because of that. Chef said I over-reduced it a little, so next time I make stock, I’ll have to pay attention more to the level of the liquid. It was an interesting process making brown stock, so I enjoyed it.