Stock Value

By Judy Haubert

Published on December 16, 2013

Duck stock, caramel-colored and intense, gives a savory depth to all sorts of dishes, including those in this month's story "The World of Duck." To tease out all the remaining meaty flavors from the carcass of roast duck or the legs left over when making a duck sugo, simmer the bones with plenty of aromatics. For a classic French-style duck stock, combine duck bones and any trimmings with roughly chopped onion, leek, celery, garlic, sprigs of parsley and thyme, a bay leaf, and a couple of whole cloves in a large stockpot. Cover with water and simmer, skimming often, until fragrant and slightly reduced, about two hours. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Cool completely and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. The stock can be used to enhance the rustic flavors of cassoulet au canard (baked white bean and duck casserole) or, with additional aromatics, it can be transformed into the recipes below.

Cooking rice in infused duck stock adds a luxuriant dimension to Persian rice pilaf, plumping each grain with flavor. To make it, simmer classic duck stock with a cinnamon stick, lightly crushed dried Persian limes, and sliced scallions. Turn off the heat and let the stock steep for 15 minutes, then cook basmati rice using the stock. Toss cooked rice with pomegranate seeds and toasted slivered almonds to serve.

Like grains, pulses soak up the flavors of their cooking liquid, so swapping out water for stock transforms Indian red lentils into a lush and meaty dish. Bring duck stock to a simmer with cilantro sprigs, a few green cardamom pods, and whole dried red chiles. Add dried red lentils, curry powder, and chopped tomatoes, then cook, partly covered, until lentils are tender. Season with salt and serve with rice and yogurt.

Springy noodles are a great foil for rich, creamy duck stock in all sorts of Asian-inspired soups. To cook a quick version of duck ramen, add sliced ginger, lemongrass, and star anise to classic duck stock and simmer until fragrant and slightly reduced. Strain and return to a simmer with ramen noodles. Cook until just tender, then season with soy sauce. Serve with sliced spring onions and poached eggs.

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