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Saturday, January 17, 2009


I'm making stock this weekend while I work on a freelance project.

The steam from the pot helps add some humidity to the winter air. It warms the kitchen and makes the house smell good. And once everything's in the pot, it doesn't need much looking after. It just needs to reduce, concentrate flavors, extract the yum and gelatin and whatnot out of the raw materials. The effect is so pleasant, I've moved my computer upstairs for the weekend.

This stock is a pork stock, I'm planning a batch of Papa Legba's Black Bean Soup for it. On its tail is going to be a beef oxtail stock which will likely end up in some sort of homemade noodle soup.

For the pork stock, I had three smoked ham hocks and a thing of smoked neck bones, which I covered with water in my jumbo stock pot (I think it's a 4 gallon pot). I added some whole peppercorns, not sure how much, just kind of guess at it. A little salt, but not much because this is getting concentrated down and the smoked pork is already pretty salty.

To this I added a bunch of cilantro, some carrots, two sautéed onions, about thirty cloves of garlic (the whole bulb, really, minus the papery stuff), some flaked parsley, a quartered onion, five whole cloves, some thyme and rubbed sage.

I turned off the simmer when I went to bed, about six hours worth of reduction. Then I added about six quarts of water this morning and tossed in three ribs of celery and a bunch of fresh parsley. These latter ingredients I'd just picked up at the store or they'd have been in there last night.

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