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.

Sauce Hollandaise ala Julia Child

I have tried many sauce hollandaise recipes, but Julia Child’s is the only one that gets me the same results and the same consistency every single time. I tell you, go grab her cookbook. The damned thing is foolproof, I tell you.

You would need:

A 225 or 250 g block of butter, the yolks of 3 eggs, salt and white pepper (preferably freshly ground), 1 Tbsp. cold water, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. A wire whisk. If you are doing this for the first time, I recommend a tub (palanggana) of cold water big enough for your saucepan to fit into be on standby.

Slice the butter into 1/4-3/4, or into 50 g/200 g halves. Set aside the 50 g butter, and cut the 200 g butter into smaller squares. Melt them over low heat either in a cup in the microwave or in a saucepan. Set this aside. Separate the eggs. You can freeze the whites for later use.

In the inner saucepan of a bain marie or a small saucepan, beat the egg yolks until they become thick and sticky. Add the water, lemon juice, and salt, then beat about 30 seconds more.

Cut a square from the 1/4 part of the cold butter, about a tablespoon of butter. Place it in the yolk mixture. Place the saucepan over very low heat (in bain marie: over barely simmering water, 75°-80° C). whisk the egg yolks until it turns into a cream. At the slightest sign that the yolks are starting to curdle, immerse the bottom of the pan in the tub of cold water, mixing the whole time, and re-place over heat once the pan is cold enough. If the mixture is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan between whisks, and sticks to the wires of the whisk, then remove from the heat and place another tablespoon of the cold butter in the yolk mix to halt the cooking process.

Using a spoon, ladle the melted butter into the sauce with your left hand, slowly letting it trickle into the mixture.(DO NOT dump it in by the tablespoon! You need to coax the yolks to absorb the oil!) Simultaneously whisk the sauce with your right hand. When the sauce thickens into a heavy cream, you can pour in the butter a bit more rapidly. Do not add the buttermilk at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. I like adding cayenne pepper in my sauce to give it an extra kick, and use the buttermilk the next day in my pancake batter.

The sauce is so thick it seems like mayo. This can only serve 3 people, so you can extend it with stiff-beaten egg whites, the water from the boiled asparagus, and garnished with tarragon or chervil.

Julia Child’s Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

While it could be described as wasteful, I would have to say that this recipe puts the cream in cream of mushroom soup. As Julia Child recipes go, this requires copious amounts of butter. Yum.

You would need:

3/4 to 1 pound mushrooms (300 to 400 g). I used Champignons.

A 2 1/2 quart saucepan, and 2 smaller saucepans. Heavy-bottomed.

1/4 cup minced onions

5 Tablespoons of butter

3 Tablespoons of flour.

6 cups of boiling white stock/broth. the book says chicken, I used pork and broccoli.

2 Tablespoons parsley, and their sprigs

1/3 bay leaf

1/8 tsp thyme

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt, a bit more to season, and pepper.

2 egg yolks and whipping cream (Schlagsahne) For lack of it, I discovered that plain yoghurt was a good alternative.

Julia also talks about fluted mushroom caps. It is basically a way to decorate the mushrooms, jazz them up a bit.  I’ll talk about them later.

First off, you have to clean the mushroom with a paper towel to rid it of the dirt. Then separate the stems from the caps. After that, save 5 to six of the best looking caps, chopping the rest of the caps into thin slices. 

Cook the onions in the big pot in 3 Tablespons of butter over slow heat, up to 8 minutes. The onions should be tender, but not brown. Add the flour and stir over moderate heat without browning. Take it off the heat.

Your stock should be boiling in another pot. Off heat, beat the broth into the onion with a wire whisk and blend thoroughly, bit by bit. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mushroom stems, parsley sprigs and herbs, and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Strain, and press the juices out of the mushroom stems. Then return the soup back into the now-empty saucepan.

In the saucepan where the stock used to be, I melted 2 Tbsp butter in medium-low heat until it bubbled. The book says foaming. Then toss in the thinly sliced mushroom caps, 1/4 tsp. of salt, and the 1 tsp lemon juice. Cover and cook for five minutes. Then add the whole thing, juices included, in the soup base and simmer for 10 minutes. If you are not using this immediately, pour a tablespoon of milk on the soup and wait until it forms a film over the surface. Re-heat to a simmer before the next step.

Beat the egg yolks and cream with salt and pepper in a mixing bowl( in my case I just re-used a saucepan for less washing-up). Beat in the hot soup by the spoonful, until a cup of soup has been added. Then gradually stir in the rest. Return to the bigger saucepan and stir over moderate heat for a minute or two, but don’t let the soup come to a simmer.

fluted mushrooms

As for decorations, remember the saved mushroom caps? Basically all you need to do
is to press the mushroom between your thumb and middle finger. Take a paring knife and and cut a shallow incision diagonally, from where your thumb is. And make a parallel cut to form a wedge. 

  Like so.

When you’ve peeled the top off, you’ll have a white triangular strip. With your index finger, turn the cap towards the groove between your thumb and index finger and start over, until you’ve made a mushroom “flower”. Saute the caps in some butter and a spritz of lemon juice.
Before serving the soup, stir in 3 Tablespoons of butter by the tablespoon. Pour into the serving bowls, and decorate with the fluted mushroom caps and finely chopped parsley.
This was so rich and creamy, I was secretly happy that the Germans did not touch this when I brought this to a pot-luck! It was meant to serve eight people, so I ended up eating this for the next two days.