Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lessons on Using Bones for Stock

Last weekend we had my good friend/former student, Anna (now of Anna Rosie Bakes fame!) and her wonderful significant other, CDR, come up for the day and just hang and eat and drink.  We had a fantastic time, even though our dog was running around in a make-shift diaper the entire time.


After snacking on bacon-wrapped dates and poufy gougères

Gougères straight from the oven!

and imbibing several glasses of Campari-laced cocktails, we settled down for dinner.  The main event of our main course was a frenched pork loin roast, "the crown roast of pork" my butcher's assistant declared.  We used a delicious recipe from—you guessed it, BA.  It is a cider-brined pork roast in which you brine the pork for hours, dry rub it for a few more, then roast it with veggies to browned perfection.  (If you want to make a great mistake, try brining it with unfiltered cider vinegar by accident.  I think I liked it even better!)

But this post is not to be about the roast.  It is about the bones that we saved from the roast after we devoured it that night and the next day.  Bones that called to me yesterday morning through the gray drizzle on the windows and the wet leaves plastered to the driveway.  It was a day to hole up and do some winter kitchen prep: stock.

I've always been scared in the past to make soup and stock, but my food reading over the past year has really pounded into my head that when it comes to the history of peasant foods, like soups and such--there really wasn't a recipe.  It was whatever you had on hand thrown into a pot and (usually) cooked low and slow for a long time to yield whatever tasty treat your random items were going to give you that particular time.  The poor couldn't be picky, and so every time the results were different.

I decided that I was going to be okay with that and not let my anal side be bothered by the fact that I wasn't going to be able to exactly replicate this stock if I really liked it.  So I did what the peasants did.  My stockpot was soon loaded with the rib rack, old carrots, old celery, a couple halved onions, some sage and thyme that were on their last legs, a couple cloves of garlic, and a lot of salt and pepper.  I filled the pot up with water, set it on the stove over low heat, draped the lid almost on the whole way, then let it all go for hours.

Sigh. It's just delightful to me that this:

Veggies and bones in the pot for bone stock

can turn into this:

Jars of bone stock made from leftover bones and old veggies

Oh, what yummy soups these are, just waiting to be made this winter....  And all for the five minutes of prep time that it took to rinse my ingredients and throw them in the pot and the other 10 that it took to strain and jar the stock.

Good grief! I've got to do this more often!

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