Beef Stock or Brown Stock Recipe

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I know you’ve heard the speech before, To have a great finished product, you need to have a great stock, and Good cooks make Good Stocks. I would love to pass on a good shortcut here, but there really is no substitute or shortcut for a well made stock. The only way to make a great stock is the slow, tedious way, but what you will be left with will bless every dish made with it with a richness and depth of flavor that cannot come out of a can. I love making stock, I do it about once a month and store the bounty in the freezer for future use. It’s really not a lot of actual work, it just takes some planning. The planning mainly comes from sandbagging bones in the freezer. My local grocery store sells veal and beef bones, but they only have a few packages at a time, so I buy them whenever I see them. When I have at least 10 lbs I make stock.
I make stock not so much by recipe, as by ratio. When making stocks in a restaurant, you’re not measuring out water. You start with a certain poundage of bones, a ratio of mire poix to the bones, and you build on that. It’s still a recipe, in a manner of speaking, but it’s a little different. It still comes out the same everytime, but you’re not filling measuring cups of water, there is no time for that in a restaurant kitchen, or in my home kitchen for that matter.
Here is how I make Beef Stock at home, using the restaurant procedure. I used 8 lbs of Veal bones and 4 lbs of Beef bones. If you can find all Veal Bones, it’s better. Veal bones make a more subtle Brown Stock.

Beef Stock or Brown Stock Recipe

8 lbs Veal Bones
4 lbs Beef Bones
About 1 1/2 Cups Tomato Paste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place the bones on roasting pans in a single layer, I use two pans. Roast the bones in the oven for 2 hours, turning them over occasionally. Roast until nicely browned, black is bad. When the bones are deep brown, smear the Tomato Paste onto the bones and put them back in the oven for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until the paste starts to brown.
Transfer the bones to a large stockpot using tongs. Cover the bones by 2 inches with COLD water. Bring up almost to a boil, immediately turn the heat down. Skim any impurities and scum off of the surface with a fine mesh skimmer, or ladle. You want the stock at what we call a Lazy Simmer. A slow bubble here and there. Once you’ve achieved this, you can pretty much leave the stock alone, checking periodically to make sure you’re maintaining your lazy simmer, and to skim. Frequent skimming is important. Also, you always want to keep the solids covered with liquid, if it gets low, add a little cold water. Simmer for about 2-3 hours.
In the mean time, add the following (except the Sachet bag) to your pans with the brownings:

5 Medium Onions, Quartered, skins and all (washed)
5 Carrots, Washed and cut into 2 inch Chunks
5 Stalks Celery, Washed and cut into 2 inch Chunks
1 Paw of Garlic (the whole head)

Sachet d’Epices (wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle and tied):
3 Fresh Bay leaves
4-5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme or 2 tsp dried
4-5 Parsley Stems
3-4 Garlic Cloves Crushed
1 Tbsp Whole Black Peppercorns

Coat the mirepoix with the fat and Roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until the Onions are Caramelized. Put the roasted vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Deglaze with about 1-2 cups of cold water in each, scraping away the brown particles with a whisk. Do not skip this step. There is HUGE flavor hiding in these seemingly dirty pans! Add the liquid to the simmering stock.
When the stock has simmered for about 3 hours, add the Mirepoix and Sachet to the pot. Simmer for 3-4 hours more.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. A conical strainer is best if you have one. I ladle the stock into the strainer. The object is to avoid stirring or disturbing the stock too much, making it cloudy. Also, Do not press on the bones or other ingredients to release more liquid. Discard the solids.
At this point, if you want to concentrate the flavor, you can put the strained stock on the stove at a brisk simmer and let it reduce to your liking. Otherwise, cool the stock down as quickly as possible. Submerging the container in a sink filled with ice water works best, stirring occasionally. You do not want to put hot stock into the fridge.
The next day, take the stock out of the fridge, skim and discard the solidified fat from the top. You can now freeze the stock in small, convenient batches. Julia Child always suggested freezing some stock into ice cube trays, which gives you small portions to spruce-up sauces.

Makes about 1 Gallon of stock

This weeks recipes featuring Beef Stock:

Roast Beef Po’ Boy with Debris Gravy Recipe
Grillades and Grits
Creole Turtle Soup Recipe
Marchand de Vin Sauce

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Back to the Kitchen

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I’m getting back into the kitchen to continue to pay tribute to the food and cooks of New Orleans, the same as I did before this disaster hit, but with a sadness in my heart, along with the joie de vivre that was there before. I know the New Orleans that I love will be back, stronger and wiser, as it has so often in the past, but changed. One thing that I’ve always admired about New Orleans is its sense of community, which is lacking in so many other parts of the country. The Looters and shooters made the headlines, while scores of others patroled their neighborhoods in boats looking for surviving members of the community, or simply guarding the streets where they live. Nice guys don’t make headlines as easily as the bad guys. So as before, here is my live cooking journal dedicated to the Restaurants, Chefs, and homecooks of New Orleans and their rich cuisine; I can only try to do it as good as you do. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

Forum for Restaurants affected by Hurricane Katrina
New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund

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Marisol needs your Help to feed the Hungry in New Orleans!

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I found this doing a search to see if Chef Pete Vasquez of Marisol Restaurant was OK after Katrina. He is not only ok, but he and his wife Janis are looking to feed the hungry victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This is from a post at The Gumbo Pages Looka! Here is the INFO:

Marisol Restaurant needs YOUR help to feed rescuers & refugees!

Just received late last night from Janis Vasquez, wife of Marisol chef/owner Pete Vasquez:

Chef Pete is still in New Orleans. Marisol is undamaged. Please help us to help others.

We can feed the hungry with your help.

Massive clean-up and rescue efforts are finally underway and all of those rescuers and remaining displaced New Orleanians are very hungry.

Chef Pete is co-ordinating with one of our specialty produce suppliers, who is now in exile in Texas. The two of them believe that they will be able to round up enough supplies to feed many people for many days & weeks, but only with your help.

To those of you who are members of the press, or who already work with government agencies, or who simply have friends in high places; here is our question: How can we contact someone in charge at FEMA who can assist us with funding this work and spreading the news among those most affected?

Chef Pete’s home phone still works! You can call him at 504 263-5112 or you can call me in West Virginia at 304 242-6610 or you can e-mail me at food4fuel@aol.com

If you are sitting on a stockpile of bottled water and disposable and continues to requestplates and utensils, that would be great too.

If any of you are chefs or kitchen workers, your help will be most appreciated also. Please contact Chef Pete or me ASAP.

I can’t update the website and continues to request from here, but you can visit it anyway!

Thanks so much for reading this note. We hope to hear from you real soon!

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Restaurants Affected by Hurricane Katrina

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Thanks to Cookie Jill for the heads up on this link. The good folks of the Brennan family are helping with the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund which is being established by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Here is the info:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund

A fund has also been established to benefit employees of the hospitality industry of the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced hardships because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions may be sent to:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund
Greater Houston Community Foundation
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027
Call 713-333-2200 for additional information.

These are the folks that work from day to day to make New Orleans Cuisine a major standout in the American Culinary landscape! They need our help, if you have the means, lets help them out!!

Also on the Commander’s Palace site, there is a link to this forum of Restaurants Affected by Hurricane Katrina.

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Search Forums for Loved Ones affected by Hurricane Katrina

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If you’re searching for missing persons involving Hurrican Katrina, MSNBC has a list of forums to do so. There are so many forums out there, and so many people searching for loved ones. My heart goes with you! I will add forum links to this site as I find them.

Search for a loved one via FEMA
Register a loved one that is missing from the Hurricane Katrina disaster on the National Next of Kin Registry

It’s never too late to make a donation to The American Red Cross which is providing essential provisions to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Here is the online link:

American Red Cross Contribution Form

Or Call:

1 800 HELP NOW

Other Resources via FEMA

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American Red Cross Hurricane Relief

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If you’re interested in making a contribution to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Relief, here is a link to where you can do it. The donations supply hundreds of thousands of victims that were left homeless by Hurricane Katrina with critical necessities.

American Red Cross Contribution Form

Other avenues of donation for Hurricane Katrina Relief:

America’s Second Harvest Donation Form
Salvation Army Online Donation Form

Louisiana Emergency Info:

Louisiana Emergency Information
Parish Alerts

News Stories:

News report of the damage in New Orleans

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Katrina, the New Header, and Comments repaired

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Good Luck to all of the folks trying to get out of Katrina’s path, I’ll be thinking about you. She sure shaped up into a nasty one.

My brother Brad from Think Reef and Top Tank designed this great new header for me, I hope you like it as much as I do. Thanks a million Brad!

Also, I’ve finally fixed my comments section, sorry for any frustration any of you have had trying to comment, they’re up and running now. I always look forward to your comments.

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Muffuletta Bread Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)
From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

Odds are, if you live outside of the city of New Orleans, you’re not going to find an authentic Muffuletta Bread, with the exception of mail order. That’s a dilemma, because without the right bread, it’s just not a Muffuletta. It needs to be a round Italian style loaf that is about 10″ across and has sesame seeds on the top. Good luck finding it! So do what I do, make your own! I based this recipe on the one from Terry Thompson’s wonderful book Cajun-Creole Cooking, with a few changes. This is actually a very easy bread recipe. The object is a nice crisp crust and a light center, you don’t want a real chewy, hearty bread for this sandwich. Well, you might, but I don’t; who am I to speak for you. Anyway, here is my version:

Muffuletta Bread Recipe

1 Cup Warm Water (110 degrees F)
1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Bread Flour
1 1/2 tsp Iodized Salt
2 Tbsp Lard or Vegetable Shortening
Sesame Seeds
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Egg Wash:
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Cold Water

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the workbowl of a stand mixer, stir well and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until good and foamy. Meanwhile, combine the flours, salt, and lard in a bowl and work in the fat with your hands until broken up into very small pieces. When the yeast is foamy, fit the mixer with a dough hook attachment and gradually add the flour on low speed until its all incorporated. Scrape the sides down between additions. When the dough comes together, turn it onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.. Alternatively, you can let the machine do the work, but for me, bread is a touch thing. Coat a large bowl with the Olive Oil, then put the dough in, turning once to coat both sides. Cover loosely with a clean dry towel, or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape into a flat round about 9 inches across (it will expand to about 10″.) Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, about 2-3 Tbsp should do it, then press them lightly into the dough. Loosely cover the loaf and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. When the dough has risen, remove the cover, gently brush with the egg wash then gently place into a preheated 425 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees F for an additional 25 minutes or until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Makes 1 Muffuletta Loaf.

The Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
The Olive Salad Recipe
Central Grocery Muffuletta

To see the rest of my Muffuletta pics, click here.

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