Fish Stock

Don’t bundle herbs for stock.

There’s no one true bouquet garni (“garnished bouquet” in French). It’s a bunch of herbs bound in cheesecloth, or tied together with cooking twine, a parsley stalk, or a strip of leek. You see them in stews, sauces, and stocks, most commonly. For fish stocks, the most common combination I’ve seen are parsley stalks, thyme, and bay leaf.

What you don’t want to do is go to your local spice shop or gourmet store, buy any random pre-made bouquet garni, and toss it in the post. Most of those are going to be assembled for pot roasts or beef stew and have things that would impart an odd flavor to a fish broth, like rosemary, sage, and oregano.

While making a bouquet garni is stupidly easy, in my view, making one for a stock is just stupid. You’re going to strain this thing anyway to get rid of the bones; why isn’t that a good enough time to take out the herbs, too? If this was a bechamel-based sauce or a pot roast where the drippings will be gravy, sure, keeping the herbs together makes sense. But to do it with a stock is just a waste of time.

Another iteration of this recipe appeared in the October 30, 1911 edition of England’s London Evening News:

From Milk Can to Soup Tureen

White soup instead of milk pudding, although the former take more time in preparation, forms an admirable change in an ordinary menu, particularly now that the cold raw weather has come.

Few soups are more delicious than those with milk or cream in their composition, and as a variation on the numberless brown varieties one recipes for favorite white soups may be welcomed.

Fish Stock

Bones and trimmings from fish, water to cover, small piece of carrot, one small onion, salt, bouquet garni.

Put bones and trimmings into a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boiling point, add vegetables and bouquet garni and salt. Boil for fifteen to twenty minutes, strain, and use for fish sauces and soups.

White Stock

2 lb. veal bone, 1 lb. lean veal, 1 turnip, 1 onion, stick celery, salt, 2 quarts water, bouquet garni (a small bunch of herbs, with peppercorns and cloves, etc., tied in muslin, used to flavor soups and stews, and removed before serving).

I’m guessing your next question is, “what’s milk pudding?” It’s pudding, curiously enough. In the days before Bill Cosby making faces for Jell-o, people made pudding on the stove with sugar and either starch or eggs and ate them warm.

My favorite milk pudding on Yesterdish is parsonage pudding. But shh! It’s to be given to ministers’ wives only!

From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Fish Stock

Use fish head, skin, and bones from meat department. Cook 10 to 15 minutes.

(Put fish, etc. into a large saucepan, add a bouquet garni with some seasoning. Cover with cold water and simmer slowly for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and use as required.)

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