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BackstoryIf something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Take chili, for example. A little extra care and attention(okay, a lot) can transform a humble a bowl of red into the closest thing to haute cuisine outside of Highland’s Bar and Grill. Some argue that a taste for chili combined with tendency towards anal retentiveness can be risky. Still, it makes for a rewarding outcome. I entered this recipe at an ICS Sanctioned Chili Cook-off and placed second behind a 7-eleven take-out chili. Go figure
- Scratch Beef Stock
- 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 2 lb meaty beef shanks, sawed crosswise into 1-inch slices by butcher
- 2 lb meaty veal shanks, sawed crosswise into 1-inch slices by butcher
- 2 onions (left unpeeled), quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 4 qt plus 2 1/2 cups cold water
- 2 celery ribs, quartered
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- cheesecloth; kitchen string
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. While oven heats, wrap parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni.
- Spread beef shanks, veal shanks, onions, and carrot in a large flameproof roasting pan, then brown well in oven, turning occasionally, about 1 hour.
- Transfer meat and vegetables to a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Add 2 cups water to roasting pan, then straddle pan across 2 burners and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot along with 4 quarts water, celery, salt, and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and skim froth. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, then bring mixture to a simmer and skim any froth.
- Simmer gently, uncovered, skimming froth occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 8 cups, 3 to 5 hours.
- Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard fat. If not, cool stock completely,
- uncovered, then chill, covered (it will be easier to remove fat when chilled).Stock keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week or frozen 3 months.Makes about 8 cups.
- Scratch Chile Paste.