Not an instance of absolutely great planning, but here I am as the thermometer hits the 90s making pork stock. Well…I never said that I was the greatest planner in the world–strawberry ice cream and stock-making in the kitchen all at one time. My favorite meat supplier (Meadow Lane Farm, Louisburg NC) had great meaty pork neck-bones at the market this past Saturday so I had to bring some home–so despite the heat it’s stock-making time.
These are very meaty bones, so I’ll have some meat to use after the stock is finished. Since there is so much meat on these bones, and I want to use it, I’m not doing the quick stock–but rather the stove-top method (now you’re sure I’m not great at planning, right?). But when you have the opportunity to get pork neck-bones, you take it. Meadow Lane farms is doing more pork (as well as beef) so next time I can plan to do this is cold weather. (I’m glad I’ll have more access to pork…love that “other white meat”.)
Basic Stove-top Pork (or Meat) Stock
- about 4 pounds meaty pork neck bones
- 2 medium onions, chunked up
- 2 medium carrots, chunked
- 3 bay leaves (dried ones)
- about 2-3 teaspoons salt
- Rinse the bones well. If you feel that there is any old, or “off” odor, or they’re very bloody, blanch quickly in one change of water.
- Add aromatics–onions, carrots, and bay leaves
- Add water to cover.
- Bring to a boil quickly, and then reduce to keep a bare simmer, and leave for about 2 or 3 hours. Test after about 2 hours–when the meat is fork-tender and “fallin’ off the bone” (a country expression that means really tender), remove from heat.
- Strain to remove bones/meat and aromatics.
- Cool stock quickly in an ice bath, stirring frequently to help cool evenly; then freeze or refrigerate. (Do not put the hot stock in the freezer or refrigerator as it will (1) warm up the refrigerator and affect everything in it, and (2) it does not cool evenly and quickly so that you could have bacterial growth.)
- When the bones are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and save for another use.
There was a bit of cursing in the kitchen as I removed the meat from the bones because I tried to do it before they had cooled quite enough, but for my efforts (sweaty through they were) I have bit over a gallon of pork stock that is cooling in the refrigerator to be de-fatted.
I have about a pound of very tender, succulent pork to use for another purpose, maybe a chili verde since the garden is rife with green chili peppers. The meat recovered after making stock is not as flavorful as it would be had I cooked it primarily to use just the meat, but it’s certainly great for a dish that is supplemented with herbs and spices like that. I could also use it in hot and sour soup, or posole.
My active cooking time was about 45 minutes from setting the stockpot on the stove to washing the stock pot. That includes the time to remove the meat from the neck bones! Although not the ideal time of the year to make stock–it’s well worth the effort. (Have to have some priorities–right?) In the winter, I’d have put the pot in the oven for the cooking time, but I thought that, perhaps, the stove-top (very low simmer) would be a bit cooler way to do this. (No, I’m NOT planning to check that out any time soon!)