[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]
Being able to turn kitchen scraps into stock is a fundamental cooking skill (usually the first thing students are taught in culinary school) that is really easy to learn. Making your own stock helps you save money, cook better-tasting meals, and reduces food waste.
Here, bones left over from breaking down whole birds are roasted with vegetables in the oven until golden-brown and then gently simmered on the stovetop with aromatics to produce a rich brown duck stock. The stock can be used as-is in soups, stews, and braises, or reduced further for a savory, silky duck jus.
While this recipe employs a traditional slow-cooking stovetop method, it can be easily adapted to a pressure cooker by following the method from our Pressure Cooker Brown Chicken Stock recipe.
Why It Works
- Turning bones left over from breaking down whole ducks into stock is an easy way to turn kitchen scraps into a valuable pantry staple, saving money and reducing waste.
- Roasting the duck bones and vegetables produces deep, complex, roasted flavor for a brown stock that can be used as-is in a variety of recipes or can be reduced further for sauces like rich and savory duck jus.
- Bones from breaking down 2 to 3 ducks (2 to 3 pounds; 900g to 1.4kg), cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
- Vegetable oil, for coating
- 1 large (9-ounce; 255g) yellow onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 carrots (4 ounces; 115g), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 celery ribs (4 ounces; 115g), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup (240ml) dry red wine (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato paste
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon (2g) whole black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) with rack set in middle position. In large bowl, toss duck parts with oil until lightly coated on all sides. Then arrange in even layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan; don’t clean out bowl. Roast, turning bones once or twice, until beginning to turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss onion, carrot, and celery with oil in now-empty bowl until lightly coated all over. When step 1 is complete, scatter vegetables over and around bones on baking sheet in as even a layer as possible. Continue to roast until bones and vegetables are well-browned, about 30 minutes longer. Set baking sheet aside on counter to cool slightly.
Transfer bones and vegetables to a stockpot, and pour off any accumulated fat from the baking sheet (fat can be strained and reserved with other rendered duck fat if desired). Add wine (if using) and tomato paste to baking sheet, and use a wooden spoon or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits. If not using wine, deglaze baking sheet with a cup of hot water instead. Pour off contents of baking sheet into the stockpot.
Add thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns to stockpot. At this point, stockpot can be covered and refrigerated until you are ready to make stock (keep in mind that stock will simmer for about 3 hours). When ready to cook, add enough cold water to stock pot to cover bones and vegetables by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer. Simmer, occasionally skimming off foam and fat that rises to surface with ladle, until stock is well-flavored, deep reddish brown, and reduced by about a third, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Let stock cool slightly, then strain through fine-mesh strainer set over a large heatproof container; discard solids. Use immediately or cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating or freezing. (When chilled, fat on the surface of stock will solidify, making it easy to remove with spoon).
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