Monday, September 3, 2012

Bone Broth, French Army, 1940

This is another installment in the Stocks & Broths category.

Bone Broth, French Army, 1940
Fonds d’Os

    French military cooking manuals noted that to put the bones resulting from the deboning of meat into the daily soup pot was a wasteful and incorrect practice. The cooking time for soups was insufficient to allow the muscular and cartilaginous parts still attached to the bones to be broken down and dissolved in the broth.
     The solution to this food loss was the Fonds d’Os (literally “bone base”, a bone stock or broth). This preparation also yielded three distinct products:
1. A first quality fat that could be used as a vegetable dressing or which, mixed in equal portion with peanut oil, made an excellent fat for frying.
2. A cooked meat known as “recuperation”, with the same value as pot-au-feu meat, and could be used to make hash, croquettes, meatloaf, meat salads, etc.
3. The liquid or “bone base”, superior to ordinary broth and used as a basis for soups, meat in sauce or braised, or when colored with aromatic caramel to make a consommé.
     Any type of bones (beef, veal, pork) or poultry carcasses could be utilized for Fonds d’Os, with the exception of mutton bones, due to their strong taste. The ingredients are quite simple and easily adjustable, the amounts based on the weight of bones on hand. I recommend adjusting the amount of salt, as 1/200 of the bone weight could prove excessive for modern tastes.

Ingredient                                                       Amount
Bones, fatty skin, edible meat trim & waste,
incorrect cuts, etc.                                            available quantity
whole onions (peeled)                                       1/100 of the weight of bone               
salt                                                                   1/200 of the weight of bone                 
bouquet garni*                                                  one
water                                                                amount sufficient to completely cover the bones and other    

*normally bay leaf, a sprig of thyme and parsley stems

1.      If you have large bones round bones (such as leg or shank bones), cut them into thirds.
2.      Put into a pot the round bones first, followed by flat bones, and then the remainder of the ingredients (skin, meat trim, onions, salt, bouquet garni) to cover the flat bones.
3.      Cover completely with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for three hours.
4.      Remove the fat layer which floats on the liquid surface. Remove any large bones and remove the meat from the bones.
5.      Return the bones to the pot and simmer for another 3 hours.
6.      After 6 hours of cooking (total), remove the bones and strain the broth through a sieve or cheesecloth.

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