Monday, April 7, 2008

Mission: Venison Stock

One of the (many!) ingredients called for in this week's recipe was venison stock.

Venison stock!?! Yes, indeed: as will become clear, game is a big part of the menu at PDC; especially venison. Jacob has always liked this protein and was excited to make the stock - though in fairness, he's always excited to make stock - but we both were a little daunted by the prospect of making a few gallons of stock from bones that we had never, ever seen or heard of being available locally. Or not locally, for that matter.

So we started looking for the bones early in the week. Calls were made to our favorite butcher and to our best backup butcher and after several assurances, and a few days, we ended up with a double batch of frozen bones - about 15 lbs or so total - from which we ended up with about 2.5 gallons of stock. We improvised this recipe and it turned out well. Here's how we did it.

Melissa suggested that we roast the bones first, and so we placed them out as seen below and put them in the oven for a bit:

Venison Bones for stock

And then we pulled them, and they looked like this:

Roasted Bones

Roasty! So now we dunked the bones in cold water - always start your stock with cold water, kids! - along with some mire poix and aromatics:

Bones with mirepoix and some spices

And then we allowed all of this to simmer... and simmer... and simmer... for about 16 hours or so. And while the result was not as dark and obviously luscious as the pork stock we made the other week, it did have a good amount of flavor to it, and it did look good:

Chinois at work!

So after this strain, and then another, we placed the stock in our 1L vessels, and put it all down in the fridge. Of course, we made sure to label the stock clearly:

All done!

And that was that! Once again the house was filled with the smell of yummy stock, and Jacob was able to sleep soundly.

Note to selves: Call ahead! It was touch and go with getting the venison bones, and while we ended up with plenty - more than we needed - for a moment, we thought that we wouldn't get any. Sourcing will not get easier as time goes on - so making the calls early and often is the key.

As for the overabundance of bones we now have... we decided to keep them all, because we think (hope) we'll need to make more stock, and because we think it's more important to keep our commitments with the butchers on these items now... so that when we ask for other, stranger stuff later, we can get it.

Time, from mis to eat: 16 hours or so.

Cost of the components of the dish: $15 - about 4-5 lbs of bones at about $3.00 per pound, plus mire poix and aromatics.

What's next: La Coupe PDC (#3)

Blast from the past: Can get enough stock? Check out the Pork Stock we made a couple weeks ago.


charcuteire said...

Just found this. On making stock don't add the mire poix and aromatics until about an hour before you are finished simering the stock. That is plenty of time for them to give up their flavor and not enough time for them to absorb your precious stock.

Note that if you save the bones from this stock for a remoulage (sp) the next day, just leave the mire poix in it as well, you can't have everything.

J.T. said...

Thanks, Charcuteire. We've made our fair share of stocks and tried that approach as well, and it does yield good results.

But in the end we prefer to add all things at once and let it go for a while. The time advantages we get from front loading the process outweigh any stock thieved by the MP and the aromatics (which, after all, is minimal).

Jennifer C said...

I'm just roasting my venison bones now and have all my veg ready. I am so excited!