22

If you have fully filtered stock or broth, and you boil it until all of the liquid evaporates; what would you be left with. If you boiled only until a bit before that point would you have super compact flavor?

7
  • 3
    A stock cube? :)
    – Caius Jard
    Feb 8 at 13:33
  • 3
    @Clockwork Sign o' the times, isn't it :-). Feb 9 at 11:28
  • 2
    @Peter-ReinstateMonica Pretty much like how a buddy was looking for python documentation on "abs" function but simply searched "abs" on the search engine, actually. Thanks, you indirectly hinted me into searching "stock cooking".
    – Clockwork
    Feb 9 at 11:36
  • 2
    @Clockwork But if you want to cook the books you are in the wrong place as well! ;-) Feb 9 at 12:09
  • 3
    @Clockwork As someone who works with documents the LaTeX processing language, I have had documentation web searches go horribly wrong... Feb 9 at 12:32
46

If you reduce filtered broth all the way, you get portable soup. It dries down into a solid that looks a bit like leather. Because of the gelatin from the bones, portable soup is bendy and flexible. It was used in the 18th century as a portable food item, eg by soldiers and people traveling through the American wilderness. There's an excellent video by historical reinactor J. Townsend: Easiest Way to Make Portable Soup. I summarized the method below.

enter image description here (images is from the same video)

  1. Put about 5 pounds of bone-in meat in a slow cooker and cover it with water; don't add any seasonings. Cook until falling-off-the-bone tender. For beef, that's about 8-10 hours on low. Townsend recommends beef shank, neck or brisket, but says poultry will also work. Choose a cut with lots of collagen, so you end up with plenty of gelatin in the broth.
  2. Remove the meat and bones; you can use the meat for another purpose. Let the broth cool until the fat solidifies on the top. Skim off the fat. Strain the remaining broth through a cloth. Now you have clarified broth.
  3. Rinse out the slow cooker and put the clarified broth back in it. Turn the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 18-24 hours with the lid off, until it's reduced to a "medium brow, gluey substance." (Yum!) Don't overcook it, or it will burn and ruin the flavor. You'll probably want to time your cooking so that the end of the 18 hours happens in the morning, so you can spend all day checking on it and don't have to stay up all night waiting for it to finish.
  4. Turn off the slow cooker and let it cool. Remove the portable soup from the crock. At this point, it's still pretty wobbly and gelatinous, like Jello cubes. Put it on a cloth or cooling rack to finish drying. The final drying has to be done with just air, without heat. You can use a food dehydrator on a "no heat" setting, or put the rack in front of a fan, or just let it air dry for a week or so, flipping it at least once a day.
  5. Once the portable soup is dried to the texture of leather (solid, but still somewhat flexible), cut it into convenient portions. Store them wrapped in brown paper or cloth. They will continue to dry and harden over time.

You can also make portable soup on the stove or over a fire, but apparently it's really difficult to do without burning. The slow cooker provides a much lower heat, so it's less likely to burn. You can actually speed up step 3 by starting on a higher heat - either simmering on the stove or using the slow cooker on high. The final stage of cooking should be done on low to minimize the chance of burning. Have a look at Townsends' follow up video, Troubleshooting Portable Soup.

To use the portable soup, rehydrate it in hot water and use it as you would broth.

3
  • 1
    Is this the video you meant to link? Because yours just spits up an error. Feb 7 at 19:46
  • 1
    @candied_orange Thanks for pointing that out. I fixed the broken link.
    – csk
    Feb 8 at 3:17
  • I just love how the question appears to be a random crazy idea and the answer is "oh, there is a recipe from centuries ago"!
    – Mołot
    Feb 9 at 11:58
13

A stock reduced to a syrup is known as a glace. Glace is French for "glaze". The glace is used to flavor sauces. If you stop the cooking before it becomes a syrup, you have what is known as a demi-glace. If you cook it beyond the syrup phase it will probably burn. These are intended to be highly flavorful preparations.

4

Removing all the liquid out of stock is essentially how bouillon is made. If you managed to dehydrate the stock without burning it, you'll be left with a big disk of bouillon at the bottom of your pot, similar to the cubes you buy at the grocery.

If you leave it with just a little water, you'll have a gooey bouillon paste.

2
  • 4
    ...not sure I would agree. Stock is generally not seasoned. Bullion is mainly salt and, in many cases added msg. I don't think reduced stock = bullion.
    – moscafj
    Feb 6 at 14:08
  • 9
    What moscajf said. Originally, "bouillon" is simply the French word for stock, and is used in older cookbooks as a loanword. Nowadays, what you can buy as "bouillon cubes" has nothing to do with stock, the hard one are just pressed salt, msg and dehydrated vegetables, and the gooey stuff is the same, but with a bit of water and thickening agent.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 6 at 19:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.