No, this hasn’t all of a sudden become a financial page. I’m talking about homemade stocks made by boiling bones and vegetables to extract the flavor and straining through a sieve. Or, in a more nouveau sense, boiling vegetables alone for a much shorter time to extract the flavor and then straining through the sieve. The actual real deal of broths, so much better than what comes in a can or a box (or a cube) from the grocery store.
I save my carcasses in the freezer. One carcass isn’t enough to make a decent pot of stock, I think; might as well save it until I have some more. And then, when I have enough, I’ll often look at them and think, I just don’t have the time to deal with them right now; I’ll do it later.
I finally gave myself a proverbial kick in the pants over the weekend and used my beef and lamb bones to make the tastiest stock de viande I’ve had since…the last time I made my own stock. The truth of the matter is, it’s an easy process: cover bones with cold water, bring to boil, drain and rinse, add vegetables, cover with cold water, bring to boil, let simmer for hours, drain [or conversely, cover vegetables with cold water. Bring to boil, let simmer 45 minutes and drain].
While the stock is simmering, you don’t need to pay any attention to it. You can clean the house, watch tv, go to the store and run some errands, or even sleep! Heck, I did a combination of the above activities while my beef bones were boiling.
The real joy of making your own stock comes after it has cooled, when you pick up the container and you notice that the liquid inside doesn’t flow like water: it has gelled up due to the naturally occurring gelatin in the bones you’ve used. That’s a sign of a well-made stock. For an even more intense flavor (and greater gel effect), reduce your resulting stock until it coats the back of a spoon that you use to stir it (50-75% reduction). Be careful not to scorch the stock while you;re reducing it, or it will get bitter; but properly done over very low heat, you will get glace de viande, or in nouveau terms a beef stock reduction sauce. It is the essence of the hearty beefy flavor,and a small amount drizzled over steak or perogies makes an intense impact on your palate.
So, want the the skinny on making your own stock? Keep reading for semi-exact instructions on what to do. If you want clarification on any of my instructions, don’t hesitate to ask.