Date: 2010-04-30 05:48 pm (UTC)
kake: The word "kake" written in white fixed-font on a black background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kake
The technique is actually fairly new to me. I didn't start learning to cook meat until relatively recently, but skimming has irritated me since my very first attempt at a meat stock. I can't remember where I first heard of the blanching idea — it may well have been during my recent research into Chinese cooking. I don't ever remember seeing people blanch meat on English-language cookery TV, but the cooks in the Chinese-language videos I've been watching on YouTube do it quite frequently.

I have a fairly substantial library of food-related books (mostly written by British or American authors, though some of those authors are of Asian descent and/or write about Asian cuisines), and I just spent some time looking up stock-making techniques. The only books that mention pre-blanching are by Harold McGee and Heston Blumenthal; all the others insist on skimming and/or making sure that the stock never gets more agitated than a very very gentle simmer. This doesn't really surprise me, since those are the two most scientifically-oriented cookery writers represented among my collection, so it makes sense that they would know about the better way.

McGee does mention that oven-roasting bones before using them in stock will have the same protein-coagulating effect as blanching them — I've never tried this though. He also points out that starting the blanching process in cold water rather than hot makes it more effective.

I don't know if I'd bother with blanching before e.g. roasting or grilling, but it definitely makes a difference in the clarity of sauces, stocks, and soups, and like you I'm surprised that it isn't a better-known technique.
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