Chicken stock is a workhouse in the kitchen. It's a building block to so much, not to mention a thing of beauty on its own. Chefs devote entire chapters to building the perfect chicken stock. What is a kitchen without chicken stock?
The answer, we just learned, is Province.
Yep, chef Randy Zweiban's groovy, eco-conscious restaurant at 161 N. Jefferson doesn't use chicken stock. At all.
It came up in a discussion we were having for another story. True, Zweiban says, they make a pork stock (and a doozy at that, with the head and bones, for dish of 10-hour braised lamb with chorizo. You heard us right.)
But otherwise, it's all vegetable stock, all the time at Province.
"I used to use chicken stock all the time. With vegetable stock, you don't have the body that chicken stock does, but you have a really clean flavor," Zweiban says.
"We take everything in the house. In the summer, you have the silks from the corn and the cobs. I don't use too much of the skins of things. I make a simple mirepoix, then take everything from turnips to broccoli stems, asparagus stems right now, pea shells. It's a three- to four-hour deal at a simmer.
"If you really want a robust flavor, caramelize the vegetables first. Or take a whole head of garlic and throw that in. You can add white wine, or deglaze with wine. It's whatever you want and what you have around."