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Old 03-18-2008, 07:18 PM   #1
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Stock/broth/sauce - newbie questions

This weekend I made my own homemade beef broth. I used four beef bones from the grocery store (lots of marrow), covered them with water (I'm guessing about 5 qts. of water), added spices, and cooked it in the pressure cooker for a couple of hours. Then I strained it and reduced it for eight hours in the pot on the stove. This filled up 1-1/2 ice cube trays.

Tonight I heated some of it on the stove (an amount about the size of 2 ice cubes) stirred in some cornstarch/water mix, and added some salt. It looked and tasted good.

Was I supposed to add any water before I added thickener? I'm guessing I wasn't supposed to but just wanted to be sure.

Diane

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Old 03-18-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Diane:

Since you reduced it, you concentrated the flavor. You can use the reduced stock as is to strengthen sauces and soups or use it as is as a quick pan sauce for meats. If you decide to add water, wine or stock to it to dilute, that's up to you. It depends on what you are using it for.

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Old 03-18-2008, 08:23 PM   #3
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I just got a pressure cooker. That seems like an awfully long time. Is it?
Two hours in a pressure cooker?

Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for answering my question Marko.

Pacanis,

Yes, that's a pretty long time for cooking it in a pressure cooker. I'm sure that was overkill because I couldn't remember how long to cook it and couldn't find any notes on it. I also didn't want to wait for an answer and wanted to get it done on the weekend. I've since asked for some guidelines on a pressure cooking forum. I get different conflicting info when I Google. I also wonder if it's different for big beef bones than chicken bones or carcases. I'll make some notes for next time. I'll post back if you're interested.

I'm thinking about experimenting with reducing in a slow cooker next time. The newer slow cookers run very hot compared to the older ones. They don't simmer but liquid evaporates with the lid off (I tested with water in the slow cooker and the lid off), and I don't see why you couldn't reduce in one. It would take even longer in a slow cooker but you could start it in the evening and let it go overnight while you sleep or while you're at work, especially if you have one with an automatic shut-off timer. Just a thought.

Diane
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:51 PM   #5
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Sure, I'd be interested.
You sound like you have an electric pressure cooker, too..... Those timers are great! I have a browning setting on mine and I swear it brings oil up to browning temp as quick as a pan on my stove. I just like that it turns itself off when it's supposed to....
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
... That seems like an awfully long time. Is it?
Two hours in a pressure cooker? ...
Actually, for beef (pork or lamb) bones - no. Even if the bones had been "optimized" for making stock by cutting into 1-inch lengths, roasted, and bashed with a hammer to crack them (re Auguste Escoffier - The Escoffier Cookbook) 2-hours in a pressure cooker would not be overkill - just a greater extraction than if a shorter time. Of course, depending on which bones you are using - 3-4 hours may not have been too long.

For fowl - chicken, turkey, duck, etc. - probably 30 minutes would be enough in a pressure cooker since they are softer and much more porous.

Diane - regarding reducing your stock ... yes, the new "slow cookers" reach boiling temps .... but you still want to reduce by simmering, not boiling. Personally, I would never go offf and leave a pot to reduce unattended (like, put it on in the morning and go off to work).
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info Michael!
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Actually, for beef (pork or lamb) bones - no. Even if the bones had been "optimized" for making stock by cutting into 1-inch lengths, roasted, and bashed with a hammer to crack them (re Auguste Escoffier - The Escoffier Cookbook) 2-hours in a pressure cooker would not be overkill - just a greater extraction than if a shorter time. Of course, depending on which bones you are using - 3-4 hours may not have been too long.

For fowl - chicken, turkey, duck, etc. - probably 30 minutes would be enough in a pressure cooker since they are softer and much more porous.

Diane - regarding reducing your stock ... yes, the new "slow cookers" reach boiling temps .... but you still want to reduce by simmering, not boiling. Personally, I would never go offf and leave a pot to reduce unattended (like, put it on in the morning and go off to work).
Mike, I've tried it your way after you suggested many posts ago to roast the bones first and that has to make the best stock ever!!!
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:42 AM   #9
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Picanus,
No, I don't have an electric pressure cooker. I have a Kuhn-Rikon stove top and a Fagor stove top. I cooked this in the Kuhn-Rikon. I cooked the bones with the pressure cooker lid on and reduced it in the pressure cooker pot with the lid off, using it as a stock pot, so I didn't have to clean another pot. I used a separate standard kitchen timer. You can brown things in a stove top also before adding liquid. I'm very interested in finding ways to make things quicker and more convenient but yet tasty in the kitchen. I recently organized a plan for once a month cooking but haven't had a weekend to do it yet. I want to use up some things in the freezer first, and this weekend I want to do taxes. I've thought about trying an electric pressure cooker someday if I run out of burners on the stove when doing once-a-month cooking.

Mike,
Thank you for the timing info on pressure cooking bones for broth! The beef bones were about 4 inches long and about 1-1/2 wide so 2 hours wasn't overkill afterall. I haven't heard back on the pressure cooking forum.

I think you misunderstood me about the slow cooker. The water didn't boil without the lid off in the slow cooker. It didn't even simmer, but the water did evaporate and because of that I think it would work but would take longer to reduce in a slow cooker than on the stove top, but I'm considering it as another option if I can't be home for 8 hours, if I have to run to the store for something, of if I'm doing once-a-month cooking it could free up one of the stove burners for cooking other things.

I wouldn't go and leave a pot on the stove unattended but I leave the house with my slow cooker unattended if I think I'll be home in time to shut it off or I use one with a timer to auto shut off. I have two because I liked them both and couldn't make up my mind which one to get. I have the Hamilton-Beach 3-in-1 because I liked that it had 3-size bowls, 2, 4, and 6 Qt., and I have a Hamilton Beach Smart Pot 6-Qt. with the auto-off timer.

I used your tip about roasting the bones and vegies before cooking them. The sauce was very tasty and a pretty brown color. It turned out well. Thank you again. \

Diane
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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I can reduce tomato sauce in my old Rival crock pot by proping the lid a bit. Kills two birds with one stone: I get the long cook time and reduction since it takes longer than on the stove.

That stock sounds great.
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