A simple, little bone broth

I started life in mainland China back in the late 70s.  Luckily, I was born after the major hard times of famine and strife.  Food was still rationed, though.  Meat was especially scarce.  Therefore, every bit of meat was precious, down to the bones.  So my family, and everyone else like us, learned to cook to ensure nothing was wasted, and every thing tasted good. 

Bone broth was a staple in our diet.  Who knew we were ahead of the food trend by, like, decades.  

I still cook using a lot of those old customs. For example, I prefer meats with bones.  It doesn’t matter if I’m preparing chicken, beef, pork or venison.  Bones impart natural flavor to any roast or stew.  After hours of slow roasting, those bones slides right off the meat to be tossed into a pot of cold water for a nice broth.  

Add anise, garlic, slices of onion (green and/or white), and a few slices of ginger to the pot of water and bring the whole thing to a boil.  Then immediately lower the heat and let it simmer for a few hours until it turns a golden brown.  The longer it cooks, the richer the broth.  I’ve cooked broth for a whole day using this method, so the time really depends on how intense you like your broth.  But the stovetop method should yield broth after 2-3 hours.

Once that golden color is achieved, pour the finished product through a strainer into a clean bowl before serving.  

I don’t mind the oil at the top of the broth, but it can be easily skimmed off the top once the broth boils.  Or you can wait till the broth is done, strain it into a container, and let the whole thing chill in the fridge. Remove the layer of white solids from on the top before using the broth however you’d like.

Yes, you can use a slow cooker to make broth.  It may take a day or two, but should yield similar results.  

What happened if you just have a piece of raw bone with very little meat?  First of all, don’t worry about any bits of meat and gristle.  I bake the entire bone on a foiled cookie sheet, with a light drizzle of oil, at 350 F for about 30 minutes.  Then, toss it into the pot of cold water with seasoning as recommended above.  

I just think the flavor is deeper and more robust when the bone is roasted a bit first. 

Bone broth can be enjoyed as is. Or it can be stored, frozen, to be used in soups.

This is how I store frozen soups and broths, to be used later. I’m obviously not the most organized.

It happens to be my favorite braising liquid. 

It takes a few steps to get a great broth, but I love the flavor more than store bought.  I think you will too.

Enjoy!

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Individual rabbit pies, oh my!

Don’t ever trust me to hold a box of croissants for you.  I will eat it all and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.  It’s not just flaky, buttery pastries that I love.  I’m a huge fan of French cooking in general.  There’s not a single French dish I’ve tried and I haven’t loved.

It’s not just flaky, buttery pastries that I love.  I’m a huge fan of French cooking in general.  There’s not a single French dish I’ve tried and I haven’t loved.

Imagine my joy when I discovered a French recipe that combines flaky puff pastry with meat. I’ve never had a rabbit with mushroom and leek pie before I discovered the recipe in a friend’s cookbook: Lapin de Compagnie en aumônière.   And boy did the recipe sound amazing!

I’ve made it twice now and, I’ve modified the recipe a bit.  I won’t kid you, it’s labor intensive.  There’s no reason why you can’t substitute chicken for the rabbit if game-meat isn’t your thing.  Chicken might even be more tender as rabbit meat can be a bit tough, but with this method, it turned out amazingly tender. To thicken the sauce the original recipe called for flour.  But when my husband, Dave was on the ketogenic diet, I stopped using flour to thicken my sauces.  Just allow a bit more time to cook the liquid down.  When Dave had his pie, he gave me his pastry puff top.  I didn’t complain.

Equipment:

1 soup pot or Cast Iron Dutch Oven

1 large saute pan
1 small sauce pan
1 large strainer
2 or 3 Pyrex bowls

2 small Porcelain Bowls. Every rabbit fits in two of these bowls.  Not only are they pretty, but they are oven safe!

Ingredients:

1 whole rabbit, cut into 8 portions
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, halved
1 leek, divide between the green and white parts. Half the green portion and shred the white
button mushrooms, about two little boxes from your grocery
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock (recipe to follow)
1 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cream
1 puff pastry sheet

1 egg yolk, beaten
salt
pepper

Step 1:
Combine the carrots, onion, green leek, celery, wine, chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme with the rabbit in a soup pot (or Dutch oven) and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper. Add a bit more water to cover the rabbit.  Remove the carrots, onions, celery after about 20-30 minutes. DO NOT DISCARD!  Save it in a separate container.

Let the rabbit continue to cook in the stock for the full hour or until the meat can be easily separated from the bones.  Then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Step 2
Remove the rabbit from the stock and remove the meat from the bones.  Try to shred the meat into smaller pieces with your fingers or a fork. Strain the stock, and throw away the bones.

Step 3
Cook the mushrooms and shredded white leek a saute pan with butter until softened, then combine with the reserved vegetables and shredded rabbit meat.

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Step 4
Heat up the stock in a sauce pan and let it cook down until it’s reduced by half. Add cream and let the liquid thicken.  Pour enough of the liquid until it coats the veggie and meat mixture. Then let it cool before dividing it into the ceramic serving dishes.

Step 5
As your mixture is cooling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out your puff pastry and using a small dish cut out rounds that will cover your serving dishes with a slight overhang.  Now place it gently over the top of the filling and crimp down the edges to seal each dish.  Don’t forget to pierce few holes in the center of each pastry.  Brush the pastry with egg yolk.

Step 6
I would place each assembled pie dish on a cookie sheet before popping it into the over for each removal.  


Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up and turns a beautiful caramel golden color.

Enjoy!