I have a large list of projects for the winter, just like every winter; many are food-oriented. Imagine that.
My cats, on the other hand, had this as a project:
Charging the solar batteries on a winter morning.
I was stocking up at the last market of the season in Braintree and the farmer who brings the meat had soup bones. Soup bones? I always want to make stock. I’ve only ever made chicken stock from one of the rotisserie chickens we bring home from the grocery store occasionally. Let’s try beef stock! I can handle bones. I don’t have to touch the marrow…
Excited to get to this project, I pull the bones out of the freezer this past weekend, and look in to the bag.
What’s that? THAT is a freakin’ JOINT bone, dude. Ok – I think, don’t freak, don’t retch. SO real, so very Right From the Source. Whoo. Breathe. Wow – even having trouble looking at the picture! Gotta be brave sometimes when you’re trying to change the way you interact with the world.
Nevertheless, I did not use the joint bone this time. I’ll use it next time.
I used some nice, simple, femur bones; these.
Into the oven for browning, 350, 90 minutes.
The smell, I must tell you, was heady. It was just so rich, so undeniably beef based. It was almost palpable in the house.
And here they are.
Now to make the stock.
12 cups of cold water, bunch of root veggies and a mesh ball full of herbs:
- 2 rutabega
- 1 parsnip
- 4 small carrots
- the inner stalks of celery (ones with leaves) from two bunches
- several red potatoes
- 1 spring onion with the top
- bunch of salt
- your standard Simon and Garfunkel mix(parsley sage rosemary and thyme)
Then I poured the bones and everything else from the roasting pan in to the pot – like so:
Rolling boil for a while.
in a couple of hours it was down to this:
at this point it was far sweeter than I had imagined. I threw in more salt.
got it down a little further – see the progression of the liquid level on the herb ball
Time to strain
for the liquid gold.
Like I said, the final product was less savory than anticipated. I realized later I forgot to add the left over red wine I had for it in the fridge. Again with the next time.
OK – for the ‘Star’ part of this.
I had to figure out how to store it, and I wanted to make some stock cubes.
And I got a wonderful gift from a clever, hilarious friend.
Can you see it?
For those of you who don’t know, a) I’m a sci-fi fan girl and b) this is a mold of Captain Han Solo after he was encased in carbonite by Darth Vader at Cloud City in the movie Empire Strikes Back; my favorite of the original Star Wars trilogy.
He was one of my first loves.
So I thought it only fitting to bring two loves together when given the opportunity.
Here’s what I got from all that stuff:
at this point I put it in the fridge to solidify the fat. I didn’t get rid of all the fat. I let what stuck to the edges, which was a fair amount, stay out and poured the rest into smaller containers.
I yielded the two containers on the left and the one tray of cubes. Probably about 3 cups.
As I closed the freezer door and dreamt of the soups to come I said, “Beef stock, I love you.”
And I swear I heard a low, beloved voice say, “I know.”