Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meat Sauce

I am not going to ease into this blog, here is a big first real post; the details of sauce making!
The problem with meat sauce is that there is never enough of it. I am not talking about "gravy" here, whatever that means (not that I don't love gravy).  I am talking about pure, unadulterated meat extract. There are a few reasons for this: it takes time, it can be challenging, and you have to go out of your way to make it(not a natural byproduct of preparing a meal).  I have set out to detail the cost and method for making as high a yielding sauce as possible.
Recipe with prices:
2.19lbs pork butt @ $3
2.4 lbs pork rack bones @ $1.88
4 lbs pork shank (cut into 2inch sections) @ $3.96
2lbs chicken legs @ $.50
1090g onions @ $1.90
123g shallots @ $ .30
6 cloves garlic @ $.10
4 sprigs thyme @ $.12
5 bay leaves @ $.40
1 bunch parsley stems @ .00
292g carrots @ $.70
164g celery root @ $.76
24g honey @ $.20
53g white balsamic vinegar @ $.80
207g chateau haut biraud @ $1

Everything pictured is in the recipe and cost $15.62.


Roast the bones in a 400F until uniformly browned, give them enough space and rotate them by both moving the pan as well as the individual bones. Put the bones into a pressure cooker, I use a Kuhn-Rikon 12 qt. See why the brand is actually important here. Cover the bones by 2 inches with cold water and then add the onions, roughly chopped.
Bring the pressure cooker to full pressure and cook for 3 hours. Let it cool down slowly, don't press the pressure release, and pour out the stock into a container to cool. I do not strain it at this point, I just pour out the liquid and let the bones stay in the pot, the little bit a liquid left will start the remouillage. Put the stock into the fridge to gel.  Fill the same pot, with the already cooked bones and onions, almost to the top with water.  Bring the second stock to a simmer and then turn it down low to a bare quiver.  Let this ride on the stove for 16 hours. It will reduce by half, and some of the bones will start to stick out. If you don't have this much reduction, or it reduces by more, then your heat is to low or high respectively. Strain this after 16 hours and then boil it until it is 1/5 of its volume. Put the reduced second stock in the fridge and pull out the first stock. It will gel very hard.

To the right is the gelled pressure cooked stock. Scrape off the fat from this, try and get only fat, but you will get some stock and some onions; this is a good thing.

Take the container of fat/stock/onions and put it into a hot pan. It will look like this ------>;.

Fry the skimmed stuff until it browns, do not stir it.You want all of the flavor to stick in the pan.  Then you can pour off the fat and leave the flavor. Here is what it looks like after the fat is removed; you can see how much flavor you just created. ----->.
After adding the honey and letting it brown, deglaze with the vinegar and wine and reduce by 3/4.
Then pour this into the stock.
Below you can see three pictures of how to properly brown meat for a sauce. 1. Add the meat to the pan with a little of the skimmed fat, let it stick.2. Pour out the fat(see how the meat stays and the fat goes?). 3. put it back on the heat and thoroughly brown it. Then once you think it is getting dark, add the pressure cooked stock(with the reduced wine and vinegar in it) and stir.

Bring this to a simmer and skim off the fat. Add all of the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 1.5 hours. After simmering, add the reduced remouillage liquid and strain everything through a chinoise.
I got 3 quarts of sauce out of this recipe, it is gelatinous because of the reduced remouillage liquid, and flavorful from the browning of the meat and the skimmed fat.

A few additional comments:
As proof of how efficient pressure cooking bones and then cooking them again is, look at what happened to the bones once they cooled. I was able to smash them in my hands. They were soft and crumbly because a lot of the flavor and gelatin has been removed.  Most importantly, this means that I am not throwing any flavor into the trash can.  Also, in the initial stock I only use onion. I do not think that carrots, or any of the other aromatics benefit from the high temperature of the pressure cooker. They will infuse just fine under normal conditions. However, onions get sweet and delicious when held at 15psi in a pressure cooker for 3 hours.  On this same note, I add all of the other aromatics into the stock just long enough to get a little reduction on the sauce and infuse all of the flavors of the vegetables, herbs, and spices.

To serve this sauce I like to finish it like this: trim whatever protein you are going to eat. Any little bits of meat that you would not want to eat, or that by removing will make it look more uniform, are great to make a sauce richer. Sear the now trimmed protein in a hot pan, add the trim half way through. Remove the main piece of meat and cook the trim until it is brown but not burnt.  If there is any fat, pour it out, and add a few tablespoons of wine, use vinegar if you don't have a bottle already open. Reduce this until dry and then add a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Let it melt, stir, and then strain. Done! (Additional lemon juice, flavored oils, butter, foie gras, chocolate, or ground spices could be added at this point, but are not necessary.)

Best Regards,


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