When people thinking of stock they will usually just grab a box from the store or throw a cube into some water. This is fine if you’re pinched for time or are still working on building up your skill set but stocks play a critical role in cooking. They are the base flavor to your dish. A good stock will lift a dish and a back stock will either detract or hurt a dish.
The main issue with grocery store stocks other than the issues I outlined in my posts Let’s Talk About Stock Part One and Part Two as well as in My Big Beef with Stock is that you can only get limited flavors of stock. A stock can be ANY flavor. When I am looking at a recipe and it calls for stock I think about what flavor stock would make that dish really stand out. What could enhance it? So when it came to looking at passover flavors lamb stock was the obvious choice. Having been able to get the bones from the butcher after they removed it from the leg I was buying I was able to add depth of flavor to my stock. Since I knew I wouldn’t have enough bone to get the flavor I needed I also get a few cuts of meat to add to the base. Any assortment of bones and meat will work for this recipe.
The recipe from Heston Blumenthal at Home is fairly straight forward an easy but I made a few small changes for the tools I have and how I work in the kitchen. The one piece of equipment you will need is a pressure cooker. For this recipe I used the Breville Fast, Slow, Pro and my instructions will be accordingly.
Start with preheating your oven to 395ºF. Arrange your bones and your meat into a roasting pan or a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and rub with oil. Roast the bones and meat for 45 minutes turning over once.
- 1 kg Lamb Bones, chopped
- 500 grams Lamb Roast (shoulder, brisket, or any available cut. You can alternatively use ground lamb.)
Pull the pan from the oven. Place the bones in the pressure cooker and place the meat on a cutting board to cool. Pour the drippings into a large clean sauté pan place over medium heat. Once the fat is shimmering or crackling add:
- 180 grams Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
- ½ Star Anise
Sauté until the onion is soft and just beginning to pick up color. With a slotted spoon scoop out the contents and put them into the pressure cooker. Return the pan to the heat and add:
- 180 grams Ripe Tomato, sliced
- 200 grams Carrot, sliced
- 50 grams Mushrooms, sliced
- 40 grams Celery, sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
Sauté the veggies until soft. If you’re tomatoes aren’t very ripe (so if it’s not August -September) you can boost the flavor by using tomato paste. Homemade tomato paste is even better and will help you process large volumes of the tomatoes from your garden.
Once the carrots have softened add all the contents of the pan to the pressure cooker. Deglaze the pan with:
- 75 grams White Port
Cook down the pot just a little even if your pan doesn’t need much deglazing. If nothing else try to cook off the alcohol taste. Then add to the pressure cooker as well. Slice up the meat on the cutting board and add to the pressure cooker. Finally add:
- 1.75 kilograms Cold Tap Water
- 8 sprigs Thyme
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 sprig Tarragon
- 1 Bay Leaf
Close the lid and set the pressure cooker to PRESSURE/STOCK and the time to 2 hours. Once the pressure has fully released open the pressure cooker and with a pair of tongs remove the large bones.
Ladle the contents through a chinos, into a large bowl, to strain out the solids. Cover and chill overnight. The next day skim off the layer of fat. Your stock is now ready to use!