STS Bar & Grill: Elk Stock
You’ve puzzled over the question since childhood. Why can’t the magic of Christmas last all year long? Well I can’t offer any elf magic, but I do know how to eke a few more days of house warming aromas from the holiday feast, and how to jar joy and satisfaction for later use:
Meaty Elk leg bones – 5 to 10 pounds per batch,
Salt and Pepper
Step 1: Salt and pepper bones liberally and place in a lightly greased roasting pan. It helps, though isn’t absolutely necessary, to crack, saw or break long bones first. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes before adding two quartered onions and two carrots to the pan. Continue roasting for at least another 40 minutes until fragrant and crusted brown.
Step 2: Move bones and vegetables from roasting pan to a tall, heavy bottomed stock-pot. Pour accumulated grease and fat from roasting pan, then deglaze remaining drippings with 1 cup dry red wine over medium flame. Pour dripping and wine mixture into pot with bones and veggies.
Step 3: Fill pot with cold water until contents are just covered. Toss in a hefty sprig of fresh rosemary and a couple of bay leaves. Heat uncovered over a low flame as slowly as you dare to a very gentle simmer. In fact, you want less of a bubbling simmer than a slow, steamy surface dance. Starting with warm water, heating too quickly or boiling too hard will make for a cloudier, less silky end product. Start cold and go slow. It’s a gentle process.
Step 4: Skim any filmy, foamy scum formed by fat and impurities floating to the top. The first hour or two on the flame will be particularly productive and require frequent attention. Simmer (barely) for at least 4 hours and as many as 12, skimming as necessary, until every last bit of flavor is coaxed from the bones.
Step 5: Remove bones and veggies from pot. Pour stock through sieve or tight mesh strainer into a large non-reactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Skim congealed fat from the cooled product and ladle into your final containers, careful not to dredge any sediment from the bottom of the bowl.
Step 6: Freeze in quart bags, can in jars (if you know how, I don’t), and make a tray or two of elk stock ice cubes for use in sauces and such. Dispense liberally throughout the year as needed to rejuvenate the soul.