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Made an amazing pot of beef stock from a beef neck I got at the Mission Meat Cave. The butcher helped me saw it in half to fit my soup pot. He was worried there wouldn't be enough meat on the bone for a soup, but he really needn't have. The large slabs of tender meat I got after 48 hours of boiling have lasted us 3 meals so far, and there's at least one meal left in them still. I think next time, I would probably want to remove the meat after the first 6 - 8 hours of boiling, so that they will have more bite and some flavour left. There is a lot of meat after 48 hours, but it needs a fair amount of flavouring in gravy to make up for what is lost. It's a hard call though. By the time I had extracted the bones, all the connective tissue, fats and gristle had liquified, revealing individual rounds of spine, soft marrow either dissolved or still clinging like clotted cream to the bone. I regret being quick about straining the broth that morning, so I gave up scraping out marrow after a while -- food gone to waste there. Would have made an excellent topping for toast.

The broth, made purely from beef bones, readily gelled in the fridge, turning into the sturdiest, richest meat jelly I have ever encountered. I may need to think up things to set in aspic for one of our dinners. The hot broth itself is flavoured languid and clean. It is beefy, but also surprisingly mild, going well as a base for even fish soup. Taken alone, it's quite fortifying, and makes an excellent base for cold Korean noodle-style broth. I have big plans for this broth, oh, yes, and would not hesitate to make it again.

Today, it is the base for a hot pot lunch, with a delicate floral aroma from Korean pepper powder and sour tang of kimchee pickling liquid. I threw together the remnant last of 4-month old kimchee and the beef bits I'd handily frozen for quick use, simmered it with dehydrated rice cakes and sticky Korean sweet potato noodles, poached an egg on top, and now, there is a very fortifying and warming hot pot.

Next idea: lemon cakes or sugar-crusted (maybe lemon) cookies?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
*keyboard shorts out from drool*

How do you cook it that long without it boiling over or boiling dry? I have a slow cooker (a clay pot with an electric heater) that lets me simmer things overnight, but even so I have to get up every few hours to add a cup of water.
Jul. 20th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
I use one of those steel pots that has an outer shell you can put the inner pot in to keep at just under boiling temperature. Technically, a crock pot (your slow cooker) should have the same effect, but it would have to be set at its lowest setting, and since it is constantly being heated (the liquid will evaporate), it needs more water upfront.

The downside of my shielded pot is that liquid levels tend to stay the same throughout cooking time, so the inner steel pot still has to go on the stove if a sauce needs boiling down. It's sort of the opposite of your problem.
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
ah, you have one of those thermal cookers. What else do you use your thermal cooker for?
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
They're good for baking bread!
Jul. 20th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
I've not known them to be used for baking. I wonder if the heat would be consistent enough in the thermal shell.
Jul. 20th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
My grandmother made a delicously chewy molasses loaf in hers before she gave it to me.
Jul. 20th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
That does sound tasty!
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
Yep, my mother made us haul it back from Malaysia. I use my thermal cooker for most of our liquid meals, but particularly when I'm trying to feed more than two people. I've done stews, chilli, gumbo, porridge, curries (wet and dry) and soups. Because it's such a large, deep pot, it's surprisingly good at cooking steaks. They just sear right, and I'm not worried about grease everywhere. This also applies to other meats too.

I've seared whole chickens in this thing, for later stewing or throwing in the oven. I frequently boil chickens and cuts of beef in it. A couple of times, I also made tong sui (Chinese dessert soup).

Seth sulked about carrying it uphill home, but it's been one of most useful kitchen tools. I just need a mortar and pestle, man. It's been like, on my list for years. I make some mean bashed foods.

The only reason I don't use it even more is because it's so damn huge. I have an inordinately large sink for an apartment, but it's a lot of scrubbing. I mean, it is steel, so no fear of flaky Teflon bits, but it is steel, so there's lots of steel wool involved.
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
I am visiting SF in September. May I take you and your hubby out to dinner? If so, what restaurant would you prefer?
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
Also, are there any treats or condiments that you'd like me to bring from Canada?
Aug. 9th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, awesome. I'm up for it, don't know about the spouse's schedule yet. When about in September?

Food options are largely open. I mean, I would eat just about anything. What works for you?

PS: Don't worry about condiments or treats either, seriously!
Aug. 10th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
I'll be flying into SF on Friday, September 2, and taking the train to San Bernardino on the 4th or 5th. I'll be back in SF on the 9th or 10th, flying back to Canada in the 11th. Are there any times there that fit your schedule?

Would either of you appreciate a bottle of Canadian icewine? It's wine made from grapes left on the vine to freeze in the stoms of winter; they are then picked by numb-fingered farmers and crushed on the coldest day of the year. It's supposedly very flavourful and good with savoury and spicey South East Asian dishes.
Aug. 10th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)
Any of those dates would be okay with us. What day would you not be too tired out from traveling, and would be best for you?

I really wouldn't dare presume a gift, but man, that icewine sounds so, so Canadian, made from bitter, bitter cold winters. It's like your delicious Canadian tree sap. I'm not usually a grape wine drinker, but man. Bitter, bitter cold is tasty!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )