The Eclectic Quill

Website of Joshua McGee

By

Slow Cooker Beef Stock (Bone Broth) Recipe

Beef "bone broth" — a misnomer, as it would classically be called "beef stock" — is all the rage right now.  This recipe, prepared in a slow cooker for over 24 hours, is rich, flavorful, and gelatinous, and adds a gourmet touch to every recipe in which you use it.

Slow Cooker Beef Stock (Bone Broth) Recipe

  • 3 – 3.5 lbs various beef bones
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch segments
  • 3 – 4 ribs celery, washed and cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions only, split, washed, and cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1 handful parsley stems, leaves reserved for another purpose
  • 5 – 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Marmite
  • Filtered water (about 1 gallon)

Preheat oven to 425°F. 

Coat a roasting pan with nonstick spray and add your beef bones.  I like to use a variety of bones: marrow bones, shoulder or knuckle bones, and some bones with meat on them (such as oxtail).

Roast bones for 45 – 60 minutes, turning halfway through, until attached meat is brown.  Transfer bones to slow cooker.  Deglaze the roasting pan with boiling filtered water, and pour water into the slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and add enough filtered water to cover by 1 inch (roughly 1 gallon).

Set slow cooker to "Low" and cook for 24 – 36 hours until a sample of the broth tastes rich enough for your liking.

Remove bones and large chunks of vegetables.  Strain remaining liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher or other vessel.  Chill pitcher in an ice bath.

Decant stock into a fat separator in batches and pour into clean pint jars.  Secure lids loosely and transfer to freezer.  Once stock is frozen, tighten lids.

Transfer remaining fatty stock into a shallow bowl with a lid and refrigerate so that the tallow separates.  Once it separates, run a knife around the sides of the layer of fat and invert on a cutting board.  Wipe with paper towels to remove residual stock and freeze for future use in cooking.

Note: the cooked vegetables will be flavorless, but the cooked beef will be flavorful and can be eaten.

Worth thousands of words

An assortment of beef bones in a baking dish

Beef bones after roasting

Ingredients added to the slow cooker

Stock after 30 hours

Strained stock

Three quarts of stock in an ice bath

Stock transferred to pint jars

Jars of stock in the freezer

Tallow removed from bowl and inverted on a cutting board.

Tallow, wiped clean with paper towels and ready to freeze.

By

Cangrejo (River Crab) Potato Chowder Recipe

finished-soup

Cangrejo — river crab — are a specialty of Guayaquil, Ecuador.  You buy them live, in bundles.  At the peak of season they are $1 USD apiece.

These are cangrejo

These are cangrejo

Cangrejo parties are a common feast, where the crab are cleaned, killed, and boiled with seasonings to be pounded apart at the table.

Cangrejo party!

Cangrejo party!

The prized portions of cangrejo are the guts, the claws, and the large legs.  There is meat inside the abdomens (the equivalent of "lump meat" in an ocean crab) and inside the spindly legs, but I don't consider them worth the effort to open and eat.  I just gather those bits (without the carapaces) and take them home for stock.

If you don't want the pictorial guide, feel free to skip ahead to the complete recipes.

To begin your stock, remove the feathery gills and the beaklike appendage from the abdomens and cut them down the center.  If they are very large, cut the halves in half again to expose more meat.

Crab abdomens

Crab abdomens

Add to a heavy pot with the spindly legs.

Crab abdomens and legs in the pot

Crab abdomens and legs in the pot

I like to rinse and drain the crab in the pot at this point, but I'm not sure if that's strictly necessary or even helpful.

Cover with 2 - 3 quarts of water — whatever it takes to just cover the pieces.  Bring to a rolling boil, skimming and discarding any foam that rises.  Reduce heat to a fast simmer.

Crab pieces coming to a boil

Crab pieces coming to a boil

Add your vegetables and seasonings (the full recipe is after this image gallery.)

Your veggies and seasonings

Your veggies and seasonings

Give everything a good stir and cook at a rapid simmer for an hour.

Simmering stock

Simmering stock

Taste the stock after the hour.  If it's weak, cook it longer (up to 20 minutes more).

Strain your stock, first through a fine colander, then through a fine-mesh sieve. 

There you go, your stock is done.  Now it's time to start your soup.

Clean and dry the pot and add 2 Tbsp of canola oil.  Heat over a medium-high flame, and add the diced onion and celery.  Cook for two minutes, stirring frequently.

Diced onions and celery in the pot

Diced onions and celery in the pot

Add the diced potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for another five minutes,

Potatoes added to the pot

Potatoes added to the pot

Add 8 cups of your fresh crab stock and the dried parsley and bring to a gentle boil.  Cook for ten minutes, until the potatoes start to get tender.

Soup before milk

Soup before milk

Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the pot, stirring as you pour.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

Soup after adding milk

Soup after adding milk

Turn off flame and transfer half of the soup to a blender.  To prevent splashing, don't fill your blender carafe more than 2/3 full.  Blend until smooth.

Half of the soup, blended

Half of the soup, blended

Add the blended soup back to the pot.  Turn on flame and warm the soup again.  Extinguish flame and stir in cream.  Add salt to taste.  To serve, ladle into soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan.

Cangrejo (River Crab) Potato Chowder

The soup served!

Here are the recipes.

Crab Stock

  • 2 lb cangrejo abdomens (halved) and spindly legs
  • 1 large white onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 stalks celery, leaves removed, chopped coarsely
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato guts (from the last time you made marinara sauce, perhaps)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 dried bay leaves, edges torn
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Remove the feathery gills and the beaklike appendage from the abdomens and cut them down the center.  If they are large, cut them in half again to expose more meat.

Cover with 2 - 3 quarts of water — whatever it takes to just cover the pieces.  Bring to a rolling boil, skimming foam as necessary.  Reduce heat to a rapid simmer.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.  Taste after the hour, and cook for up to 20 minutes more if the stock is still weak.  Strain the stock, first through a fine colander, then through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.  Clean the pot for the chowder.

Cangrejo (River Crab) Potato Chowder

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 - 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 medium, firm potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 8 cups of crab stock (recipe above)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flower
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Add 2 Tbsp of canola oil to a heavy pot.  Heat over a medium-high flame, and add the diced onion and celery.  Cook for two minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the diced potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for another five minutes,

Add crab stock and the dried parsley and bring to a gentle boil.  Cook for ten minutes, until the potatoes start to get tender.

Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the pot, stirring as you pour.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

Turn off flame and transfer half of the soup to a blender.  To prevent splashing, don't fill your blender carafe more than 2/3 full.  Blend until smooth.

Add the blended soup back to the pot.  Turn on flame and warm the soup again.  Extinguish flame and stir in cream.  Add salt to taste.  To serve, ladle into soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan.

I owe a great deal of thanks for help and inspiration for this post to recipes at Epicurious and The Pioneer Woman.

By

Curry Maple Pumpkin Soup with Chili Pepitas

What is it about cold weather that makes us crave soup so much?  What is it about a beautiful pumpkin that screams "make me into soup!"?  I'm sure there are some great explanations, but they are best pondered over a bowl of this nuanced and exotic cream soup.  Enjoy!

bowl_of_curry_maple_pumpkin_soup_with_pepitas-570

Curry Maple Pumpkin Soup with Chili Pepitas

  • 1 medium pumpkin (large enough to provide 5 cups pumpkin pulp)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley – rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves – rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1½ cups half & half and 1 cup milk, combined
  • chili powder
  • sea salt
  • canola oil
  • poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Remove stem and top from pumpkin.  Cut pumpkin into halves.  Using an ice cream scoop, remove seeds and strings from pumpkin halves and set aside.  Cut halves of pumpkin into halves again, yielding four pieces total.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with canola oil.  Place pumpkin quarters on baking sheet, skin side down.  Oil surfaces of pumpkin flesh with canola oil, and salt flesh liberally with sea salt.  Place in oven for 1 hour.  Begin to prepare Chili Pepitas (below).  Turn pumpkin quarters skin side up and bake for another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Place Chili Pepitas in oven.

Remove pumpkin flesh from skin with an ice cream scoop.  Measure 5 cups of packed pumpkin pulp and set aside.

Melt ¼ cup of butter in the bottom of a heavy stockpot.  Add sliced shallots and sauté for five minutes.  Add garlic, parsley, and thyme and sauté for another minute.  Stir in pumpkin pulp and coat with shallot mixture.  Add chicken stock, curry powder, and bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to barest simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, and transfer contents of pot to a metal bowl.  In four batches, transfer hot mixture to blender or food processor.  Purée until smooth.  Return each batch to pot.  Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Stirring constantly, slowly incorporate maple syrup, then incorporate the half & half and milk mixture, to make a smooth cream soup.  Ladle into bowls.  Top with chili pepitas and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Serve hot.

Chili Pepitas

Separate pumpkin seeds from strings.  Rinse seeds thoroughly, drain, and place on a plate covered with two layers of paper towels.  Top with two layers of paper towels and pat dry.  Toss dry pumpkin seeds in canola oil. To each cup of pumpkin seeds, add 1 tsp chili powder and ½ tsp sea salt and toss.  Place in single layer in bottom of oven-safe skillet.  Place in 375°F oven.  Toast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon.

Worth thousands of words

Start with a medium-sized pumpkin

Start with a medium-sized pumpkin

Use a small, heavy, serrated knife to remove the stem and carve the pumpkin.

Use a small, heavy, serrated knife to remove the stem and carve the pumpkin.

This one had a sprouted seed!  It's trying to make a new pumpkin vine.  Don't use seeds like this, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

This one had a sprouted seed!  It's trying to make a new pumpkin vine.  Don't use seeds like this, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

Remove the strings and seeds with an ice cream scoop.

Remove the strings and seeds with an ice cream scoop.

Your results will look like this.

Your results will look like this.

Pumpkin quarters before the oven.

Pumpkin quarters before the oven.

Pumpkin seeds.  Pat them dry!

Pumpkin seeds.  Pat them dry!

Pumpkin seeds tossed with oil and seasoning.

Pumpkin seeds tossed with oil and seasoning.

Pumpkin after baking.

Pumpkin after baking.


Pumpkin pulp!

Pumpkin pulp!

Measure out the ingredients for the soup so that you don't find yourself rushing around.

Measure out the ingredients for the soup so that you don't find yourself rushing around.

Butter melting.  Mmmmm!

Butter melting.  Mmmmm!

Ingredients in the pot.  Ready to start cooking!

Ingredients in the pot.  Ready to start cooking!

After thirty minutes, your soup should look like this.

After thirty minutes, your soup should look like this.

After your keen blender skills, the soup should look like this.

After your cool blender skills, the soup should look like this.

The cooked soup in the pot.

The cooked soup in the pot.

Liquid ingredients that we're adding. How can you go wrong with maple syrup and half & half?

Liquid ingredients that we're adding. How can you go wrong with maple syrup and half & half?

The final result.  Looks amazing and tastes even better.

The final result.  Looks amazing and tastes even better.

By

White Bean Soup with Bacon and White Ale

I've been sick and wanted to make some comfort food.  I came up with the following recipe, and it turned out really nicely.  I'm posting it here for anyone else who might be looking for a hearty, flavorful, comforting soup.

white-bean-soup-with-bacon-and-white-ale-600

White Bean Soup with Bacon and White Ale

  • 1 1/2 lbs (two 12-oz bags) dry Great Northern beans
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
  • 4 tsp dried Italian herb mixture
  • 2 large ham hocks, scored
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 2 12-oz bottles white ale
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup diced crimini (baby Portobello) mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Sort and rinse beans.  Soak overnight in ample water.  Drain, rinse thoroughly, and set aside.

Coat bottom of heavy stockpot with vegetable oil.  Sauté bacon until almost crispy.  Remove bacon from fat and set aside to cool.  Add shallots, celery, and herbs and sauté for five minutes, being sure to deglaze pot.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.  Add ham hocks, stock, ale, and water.  Chop bacon coarsely and add to pot.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 90 minutes.

Add drained beans and simmer for an hour.  Add mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until beans are tender (about 45 minutes).  Remove ham hocks.  Ladle into bowls and serve topped with chopped parsley.