Friday, October 31, 2008

A good stock

A colleague has a son that hunts moose in the deep forests of eastern Norway. When she told me that she had a problem getting rid of the bones when slaughtering the animal, I told her; grieve no more - give the bones to me. This as they hold the essence of all cooking - a good stock!

A few weeks ago she brought the first delivery, directly from her freezer to the small kitchen in my office. The following Saturday I planned my make my stock. I had bought onions, celery root, and carrots. Be aware that this is not cooking from a recipe - add what you like, garlic, red peppers, take your pick and create the base for your personal cooking.

Making a good stock is easy, but time consuming. In order to get a good result, it is vital to allow the bones and vegetables to simmer on a very low heat for at least 4-5 hours. To get started, place the bones and vegetables in the largest pot you have. Pour in water to barely cover them, add salt and pepper, bay leaves and other herbs you have in your kitchen. Thyme is delicious.

You may substitute the salt with 3 stock cubes. I know that it is not very kosher in gastronomic circles, but do not tell anyone - I did. Then bring the pot up to boiling point and allow to barely simmer for 4 hours. Remove some of the grey foam that may appear on the surface.

Remove all bones and vegetables. While you clean the bone for excess meat, turn the heat up and reduce the amount left. Here you may make a stock by reducing by 50%, or you may create even more concentrated essences by reducing even more.

Freeze down vegetables and excess meat, they have soaked up so much flavour. Cool down the stock and place in small zip-lock bags or jars when completely cold. Freeze them down for later use.

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