Thursday, April 1, 2010

Of risotto, chickenless broth, and ruined stockpots

Risotto has made me very happy the last two days.
I usually have keep chicken stock in my freezer, but had no reason for it so I haven't made any in a while. Shamefully, I went to the supermarket yesterday and bought some chicken base. Except, this chicken base wasn't made with chicken. It said "no chicken base." I checked the ingredients and saw "autolyzed yeast extract," which is codeword for MSG. I'm not against MSG, and I sympathize with those who can't have it, its a powerful vehicle for umami which is why commercialized neighborhood chinese food tastes so good (next time you order, look out for big tubs that say "MSG." I prefer to add umami to a dish by using kombu kelp, miso paste, or a high quality soy sauce.
This base made a broth that was so good I could eat it by itself. However, it's a bit too salty to reduce into a demi glace, unless diluted. It made my risotto for the past two days extra chicken-y, regardless whether my broth had bird in it or not.
I still prefer the process of making my own stock.
I do miss my stockpot. Its been out of commission ever since I sterilized it for lacto-fermentation. I was going to make a vat of sauerkraut for an event in december, and was measuring a plastic plate that fit perfectly into it. The problem was that it fit so perfectly, I couldn't take it out. Ruined stockpot.

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