Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dark Chicken Stock, Demi-Glace

Happy Thanksgiving every (United States Citizen) one! Time to kick off a week of pure, unadulterated gluttony! It's the American way!

I'm starting us off by making some more sauce bases, namely dark roasted chicken stock (which I will need to make French Onion soup) and demi-glace, so as to make the best of my ball-less second batch veal stock.

I started out with the demi. First thing is to reduce wine equal to about a quarter of the stock to be reduced. I'm working with about 8 cups of stock, so 2 cups of red wine goes into a pot with some chopped shallot. I reduced the wine by half over medium heat. This smells really amazing by the way--I'm a huge fan of warm mulled red wine with spices, and there's something so delicious and warming and wintery about hot red wine. I can already tell this demi shall be hardcore.

Next, add the stock. Now this is kind of an interesting proposition, as my stock has been in the fridge since I made it, and it has turned rather gelatinous. Ok no, it has turned full-on gelatinous. It's basically veal Jell-o you guys. SLIMY veal Jell-o. Kind of weird? Kind of gross? Kind of what it's supposed to do? Yes, yes, and yes. This is I guess what separates veal stock from other kinds of stock, it's full of natural gelatin so it makes a very thick sauce. That's all well and good to know intellectually but not so comforting when plopping spoonfuls of what's basically meat flavored knox blox into my formerly delicious wine reduction.

Chunky, goopy veal Jell-o.

Have I put you all off Grandma's Thanksgiving jello mold with the floating mandarin orange slices? Because that's my goal here.

Fortunately with the heat turned up, the chunks of veal Jell-o started melting and forming a nice dark colored liquid. After the five minute mark, no chunks remained. The sauce now comes to nearly a boil, then down to a simmer, to reduce to a "lush, dark, intensely flavored brown sauce" that is "reasonably thick but not candy-sticky." Sounds good to me.

While the demi is reducing, it's time to make the chicken stock. I won't go over it too much here, as dark chicken stock (as opposed to the light chicken stock I made a few months ago) is basically made the same way as the veal stock from last week--roast bones, roast veg, dump into pot, simmer, done.

I just want to reiterate how much I looove roasting that mirepoix. The whole house smells like delicious thanksgiving (probably because it's the main ingredient in every stuffing ever), what a great way to get ready for a holiday.

The bones and roasted mirepoix go into the pot to simmer for 10 hours, which is about how long it took for the demi to reach maximum thickness. I followed Julia Child's advice and strained the stock then poured it into a spare ice cube tray for single-serving portions.

Eight full cups of stock leads to one ice cube tray of demi. Uh... wow. Maybe, and this might be the heresy talking, I should actually just buy high quality demi glace instead and save those 20 hours of simmering (and my gas bill). We'll see how this stuff actually tastes.

Lessons Learned: Veal Jell-O is pretty gross, but it's making some pretty delicious smelling demi-glace.

Next Week: I know everyone is tired of me making sauces and stocks, but they have to be done in order to keep cooking! Next time I'll be using my dark chicken stock in French onion soup.

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