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Rich Pork Stock



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“Indeed, stock is everything in cooking, at least in French cooking.
Without it, nothing can be done. If one’s stock is good, what remains of
the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or merely mediocre, it
is quite hopeless to expect anything approaching a satisfactory result.”

~ Auguste Escoffier, as quoted in 'The Pat Conroy Cookbook '

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Rich Pork Stock

Zuni Cafe

by Judy Rodgers, 2002, W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.

“We make one or two 20-gallon batches of this delicious stock per week. We use it
to moisten braised pork dishes, to enrich the juices from our Mock Porchetta
But most often, we reduce it to make a pristine sauce for our Home-Cured Pork
Chops [we promise to present this recipe soon].
Making such large batches, we find it convenient and economical to use a whole
pig’s head to add succulence and body. At home, making a small batch of stock,
it is more practical to use a piece of pig’s foot, which contains a comparable combination of skin, cartilage, meat and bone. (Many supermarkets carry them,
or can get them with a day’s notice, and they are usually available in Latin and
Asian markets. Have them cut in chunks, or split, and freeze what you don’t need
right away.) The main flavor component of the stock, however, is the ‘meaty’
bones; we use a combination of inexpensive fresh pork shank and more costly
bone-in, lean shoulder butt, sometimes called Boston butt. Shank gives the stock
body and depth of flavor’ shoulder gives it brightness. You can use other bony
cuts, such as ribs, as long as they aren’t too fatty and are fairly meaty. Otherwise,
add a pound of meat to 1 1/2 pounds clean bones; without meat, the stock will
have body but lack flavor. Make sure the bones and scraps smell very fresh and
are not tacky to the touch.”

For 4 to 5 cups (about 1 to 2 cups reduction)

2 1/2 pounds lean bone-in pork shoulder
or shank (fresh, not smoked), cut into
3-inch chunks
1/2 small pig’s foot (about 1 pound), split
4 cups cold chicken stock (enough to
barely cover the meat and bones)
About 4 cups cold water (enough to cover
the meat and bones by about 1 inch), plus
a little to deglaze the pan and stockpot
1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), halved
2 stalks celery (2 ounces), leaves trimmed off
1 bay leaf
A few whole black peppercorns

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Crowd, but without piling them up, the pork and pig’s foot in a shallow
roasting pan or in a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof skillet. (If you briefly preheat
the pan over a low flame before you add the pork, it will sear on contact
and be less likely to stick later on.) You should barely see the bottom of the
pan; otherwise, the drippings will tend to burn in the exposed spots. Roast
until golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Check the progress after about 25 minutes,
and rearrange the pork, or turn it over, as needed, to promote even
coloring. You may need to rotate the pan.

Transfer the pork and foot, still warm, to a deep 8- to 10-quart stockpot.
Pour off all of the fat from the pan, then add about 1/4 cup cold water to it,
set over low heat, and scrape and stir to melt any gold or chestnut-colored
drippings; don’t work on any black ones. Taste. If they are nice and porky,
pour these reconstituted drippings into the stockpot; if the liquid tastes all
scorched – like over-browned bacon – discard it. Add the cold chicken
stock, then add water to cover by about an inch. (If using unsalted chicken
stock, add a few pinches of salt.) Bring to a simmer and skim the foam.
Poke under any exposed chunks of meat, then skim any new foam that
rises to the surface. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, and peppercorns and
stir them under. Simmer uncovered, without skimming or further stirring
but tasting regularly, for 4 to 5 hours, until the stock is richly flavored and
the color is of maple syrup, and has some body; check for this last by chil-
ling a few drops of stock on a plate. You may need to adjust the heat to
control the simmer, and you may need to poke the bones or add a few
ounces of water to keep the meat and bones submerged during the long

Strain the stock promptly; leave the meat and vegetable chunks in the strainer to continue dripping. Immediately pour about 1/4 cup water into the stockpot and swirl it briefly, to liquefy and capture the syrupy stock that is clinging to
the pan. Pour this over the meat and vegetables, to rinse some of the rich
syrup from their surfaces into the strained stock below. Leave the stock to
cool completely. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate with the layer
of fat intact – it will help preserve the stock until needed.
Return to the strainer: you will see that the meat chunks are absolutely
tender and spent – they will collapse upon touch. Salvage and enjoy them –
 still warm, smashed between slices of focaccia, crowned with a smear of
fresh ricotta and lots of cracked black pepper…

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