The perfect stock?

This past Christmas, I roasted prime rib in salt. It was amazing…a little too done because it cooked about 15 degrees more than planned after removing from the oven because I left it packed in the salt until serving, but it was great, nonetheless. Like a conscious cook, I saved and froze the bones for beef stock. Fortunately (though we’ll see how fortunate this is when the stock is done), I read the section in Michael Ruhlman’s book–The Making of a Chef:  Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America–last night on creating stocks (pp. 24-28). A good stock should be clear. If it’s a brown stock it should be brown; a white stock (chicken) should be white and not grey. “‘A good white stock should simmer about five hours'” (p. 24).

Of course, I’m the home chef, so I started it late–after work–and threw in all the leftover herbs I had in the refrigerator. This included a massive amount of thyme, rosemary and sage. Only four, small, bit-sized carrots, two celery stalks and a half an onion made a meager mirepoix. I threw in a tablespoon or two of peppercorns for good measure, because a little pepper spice can only help to cover up the lack of, what Emeril calls, “the Holy Trinity,” right?

So, based on Ruhlman’s narrative, a good stock should simmer for several hours, but I’ve got to go to bed. I could have waited until the weekend, but the herbs wouldn’t have lasted, and at $2.39 a package (though partially used), four packages that are ready to expire simply can’t wait until the weekend. A good stock includes bones with a lot of marrow; I think these beef bones have got it. The more cartilage, the more gelatin in the broth. I might not be awake to skim the fat & gelatin properly. So how will this end? I’ve never made a deliriously-intense beef broth. Hmmmm….

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