Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making Stock

Bones for a beef sstock

We are going to explore the art of making stock - beef, chicken and vegetable. It does take a little work, mostly water and heat. The time is well spent and besides your dog will love you. Homemade stock is so nutritious, the stuff in the supermarket pales in comparison. Get proper bones from a properly raised grass fed animal and you will understand why in the old days chicken soup was grandma’s antibiotic.

 Nothing satisfies a hunger like a simply bowl of beef stock with a few onions.  Stock is great for many recipes that call for simply water, just choose your stock wisely. Chicken works for almost everything. Always use a stock instead of water in a Risotto.

Because quality beef bones are harder to find these days, we will start with making a chicken stock.  I will post the procedure shorty. 

I have found very little difference in any of my cookbooks with making a chicken stock, and  plenty of different approaches to making a classic brown beef stock  but I will give you two versions, one Irish and one French, a Fond de Volaille.    The Irish version is very simply and yields about 3 quarts with less chicken whereas the French version is richer and darker by using more chicken and reducing it down to 2 quarts. I’m guessing the Irish were hungrier. 

Irish version a combination from Darina Allen and her friend Colman Andrews:
You will need a large pot-  8-12 qt is plenty big. Wait until you have made one or two before purchasing a good one.  A second smaller pot or bowl to drain the stock into. A skimmer to skim off foam and solids.  And a strainer of fine mesh. Plus a little cheesecloth never hurt. Kitchen twine. Glass containers for stock with lids like Pyrex.
About 3-5 pounds of chicken bones. It can be raw ( buy a roaster and carve off the good pieces to use some other time or left overs with neck, heart, liver and gizzards if you have them. Get in the habit of never throwing away anything.  Break up the carcases if they are large.
1 or 2 onions,  rough chop, don’t dice 'em small.  Yellow, Sweet, Spanish are best.
2 carrots again a rough coarse chop
2 stalks of celery- rough chop.

The onion, carrot and celery are aromatics and are called the “Trinity” in many cooking circles and a mirepoix by the French. Don’t  walk into a kitchen without them.
Options:  white part of a Leek, some Parsely leaves fresh only, a sprig of thyme and about 6 peppercorns. Again, an option  Darina list them but not Andrews.
Salt – much later.

Details:  Put all ingredients into the large pot and add enough COLD water to cover by an inch or two- no more.  Cover pot and bring to a quick boil over high heat.  Uncover pot, REDUCE heat to LOW and let simmer for 3-4 hours. Skim foam and solids every 20 minutes or so.

Strain the stock, discarding the solids. Rinse out pot, then return the stock and simmer for another 30-40 minutes, add sea salt- about a tablespoon.  Cool in room for a short time, then refrigerate fopr about three hours. You can put into containers at this point. After three hours you can skim off solid fats from the top- freeze some and began to use some.  The last removal of fat makes the stock lighter and clearer. Leave the fat for a richer darker but more cloudy stock.

Want more flavor?  Use more chicken and / or reduce the stock you have saved in a pan by a third or half.   

I love the endearing quality of my Irish cookbooks and I would be remiss if I didn't add that according to Colman Andrews, Rabbit bones can be substituted for chicken- just so you know.    

next up a french version.....

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