Even though I don’t make stock very often–it is a bit of a palaver, really–I found myself doing it twice this weekend. First up was vegetable stock for a mushroom risotto. Easy. Simmer down a bunch of veggie trimmings, a quick strain and I was good to go. Now, on the chicken side of things, I’m normally fine using a decent prepared low-sodium stock. The recesses of my pantry are usually stacked with tetrapaks. But we went out to the wilds of Virginia for Peking duck on Friday night and I won custody of three denuded duck carcasses. (For the record, we only had TWO, but our waiter liked us and gave us an extra one–eeee! I am convinced it’s because I managed to ask for chopsticks in Chinese. Expensive education FTW!) Aaanyway, when confronted with such a pile of lovely bones, how could I NOT make stock? I even rummaged the remaining goose bits from the freezer, where they’d been languishing since Thanksgiving. I mean, if that won’t make a good stock, I have no idea what will.
Of course, there are many schools of stock-making. Some say re-roast all the bits and pieces first. Others say boil once briefly, drain, and then simmer. And, intellectually, I’m sure all of those things are great, but I didn’t feel like it. So, into the pot (pots, actually) everything went. Each got the following: 1 1/2 duck carcasses, 1 goose wing, 3 carrots, 3 onions, 3 ribs celery, 2 fennel stalks, 2 cloves garlic, 10 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, a couple sprigs of thyme, and 1 clove. I brought them to a slow simmer and let them bubble languidly for 5 hours, then strained the solids and gunk out. Stock was returned to the pots and reduced by 1/3–mostly so I could fit it all in one pot. Once I could safely combine them, I did, cooled it, and popped it in the fridge. Today, I’ll scrape the fat off and package it in baggies to freeze until I need them for dumpling soups, non-vegetarian risottos, stracciatella, and other tasty delicious things. In the meanwhile, I’m enjoying the beneficiently smug fug of stockmakery. Booyah.