Mission Impertinent: Making Beef Stock and Beef Jell-O Jigglers.
Dec. 7, 2012 7:23 am
Updated: Dec. 9, 2012 5:54 pm
"Good morning, Doc! Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to turn five pounds of beef bones and a few select aromatic vegetables into a delicious beef stock. Then upon completion of the stock, take those same bones and turn them into 1 1/2 to
2 cups of rich, Beef Glace de Viande. You have but one day to complete this mission, and don't forget to pick up She Who Must Be Obeyed at the airport. This tape will self destruct in 10 seconds." Sssssssssssssss...
Yes, it would be easier, and possibly cheaper to buy a good beef stock from the store. Things have changed in the market place, and many of the name brand stocks are actually pretty good now, and fairly inexpensive. But that's just not who I am. If by hard
work, and application of the mind, I can make something more difficult than it needs to be, well I'm all about that!
It isn't just me who makes things more difficult than they need to be, either. Where is my stock pot? Life, too gets in its licks. I couldn't find my stock pot and had to switch to "plan B." I had two five quart pots that I could split the ingredients between.
The ingredients were, 5 lbs of beef bones, a large onion (cut in half and burnt), one leek(split, quartered and washed), one head of garlic(cut in half horizontally), two stalks celery, four bay leaves, two sprigs of fresh thyme and eight quarts of cold water.
I always like to start a recipe with a mistake. I dumped everything but the onions into the two pots and filled them up with water, and then I proceeded to burn the onions on a cast iron skillet over high heat. Ok. Make that starting off with two mistakes.
READ THE RECIPE, DOC! I should not have added the aromatics to the pot until after I had brought the bones to the boil and skimmed the crud from the liquid. Also, I should have burnt the onion over moderately high heat, not on top of the nuclear furnace. The
result is not as bad as some mistakes might be. The stock was harder to skim, and maybe, just maybe, the stock is a bit cloudier. Apart from the smoke detector going off, burning the onion on high rather than moderately high didn't really affect anything but
I brought the pots to the boil, skimmed (several times) and reduced the heat to point where it was lightly boiling, about medium low on my range. I held the temperature there for about four hours and made additions of water as it boiled out. I hadn't started
with a full four quarts in each pot to begin with since the pots weren't big enough. When the time had elapsed I strained the stock through damp paper towels with which I had lined my trusty colander. I was amazed at how much of the oil/grease was filtered
out by doing this. I reserved the bones from the filtrate. I added some water to the stock to bring it up to the four quarts I was supposed to get. The flavor was rather bland. It has not been seasoned yet. That happens in the finished product, about which
I will write later.
Part one of the mission was complete! And now on to the next part. I was surprised to read in
Essential Pepin that Glace de Viande was made with the bones that had already been used to make stock. I wonder if this is a nod to frugality. Mr. Pepin was brought up in post war France, and things were probably a bit
tight. Other sources simply say to reduce regular stock to the point it is like a syrup. I did it Jacques' way and it turned out fine. I wasn't going to try splitting this into two pots though. This recipe only required the bones and seven quarts of water.
I simply put the bones in a pot and as much water as I could safely put in without boiling over. Every hour I would add more water to the pot. Since I had to go to the airport, the glace got an extra two hours of "bone goodness" extraction!
After I got home with She Who Must Be Obeyed, I discarded the bones, and strained the glace (should I say pre-glace?) through damp paper towels lining a colander. Almost no fat came through. Then I put the liquid back in a clean pot and reduced it on medium
high. It went pretty quickly. I put the Glace de Viande in a small square dish and chilled it over night. What resulted was a really tasty, beefy, Jell-O Jiggler! I cut up the sheet o' beef into one inch squares and put them in a baggie and then the freezer.
Tonight I will be making Onion Soup Grantineed from Julia Child's,
The Way To Cook. It sounds very good, and with the beef stock from
Essential Pepin, it should showcase the onions better than a richer stock made with roasted bones. I'm really excited about this! At the same time, or maybe later on the weekend, I will use the remaining stock to produce
Beef Consomme, the recipe for which will come from
Pot o' Love!
Beef Jell-O Jigglers