Julia Child’s Simple Meat Stock

When I first started making broth, I was given one piece of advice by my former roommate. Her mom told her that broth should have “eyes,” globs of fat swimming on top.

So when I started making the Julia Child version of meat broth, I was very concerned about the instructions to de-scum and de-fat the broth. I can get it with the scum, but without fat?

Now, I’m not a big fan of this stock. I find it a tad bit bland, and since this is specifically made for consomme or aspic. That said, I have to admit that this stock is healthier because of the reduced fat content, and it doesn’t spoil so easily for the same reason. And while this is not labor intensive, it requires the cook to devote at least six hours partially to making it.

Her recipe asks the reader to collect bone scraps of whatever meat you have in the freezer or fridge, and then when you have gathered enough, put it in a stock pot and pour cold water until it covers the meat by two inches. Put it over low moderate heat and allow it to go on a quiet simmer, meaning you’re overdoing it when the water comes up with a boil an inch wide. It really should be steaming, and maybe tiny bubbles break the surface every now and then.

When you notice the stage that scum starts collect to the top, ladle it out with a spoon and repeat until it almost stops producing scum. Put in two scraped carrots, two peeled medium-sized onions, and 2 celery stalks (or celery root, which is more widely available in  Germany). A stalk or two of leek is optional.

Make a tiny cheesecloth pouch filled with 1/4 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf, 6 parsley sprigs, 2 unpeeled garlic cloves, and two whole cloves. Tie it into a bag and drop it in the water, along with 2 teaspoons salt. You can partially cover the kettle, leaving at least an inch of space to let steam escape. Julia Child said to never cover it all the way because it will turn sour, so only cover the pot when the stock has cooled completely. Add water if the stock goes below the level of the ingredients. This period lasts 4-5 hours. When done, season according to taste. Scoop up solidified fat when the stock cools, and strain and store in a jar or in the freezer.

The great thing about this is that you can stop the process anytime you want and you can pick up where you left off. So while the wait is inconvenient, you can arrange the making of the stock to your schedule.

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