The stock refrigerated over night, and now I know why they don’t strain it after chilling it.  The gelatin turned it into a big meaty jello.  I must have completely screwed it up the last couple times I tried this, because it never jello’d up like this.  Now that I think on it, I just went straight to the freezer after letting it chill a little in the winter weather.

Anyway, the fat did solidify on the top and was easy to remove.  I strained it once yesterday with a cheesecloth, which should be enough.  (The book says to strain once through a normal metal strainer, then a second time through a cheesecloth)

(P.S.  “Dawn” dish soap is awesome at degreasing plastic like this.  “Joy” wasn’t cutting it and “Dawn” came through for me!)

Next step was to cut a whole mess of onions and start cooking it with a whole mess of butter for about 5 hours.  The book was very specific on how to cut the onions, and I think i was fairly consistent.  The book said to get 8lbs of onions and it should yield about 7 quarts of onions.  I ended up with about 7-7.5 quarts after cutting just about 6lbs of onions, so I just stopped there.  He talks alot about the right proportions of everything, so we’ll see how it affects it.  Next time I’ll try the full 8 lbs in a bigger stock pot and see if I can tell the difference.

7 quarts of onions after about 3.5 hours into cooking.

I think I had the heat on the onions a little too low, because after 5 hours, there was still a lot of liquid.  I went another 2 hours then put the onions in the refrigerator (it was midnight by then)

The next day, I reheated the onions then added the stock with a spice sachet and some flour and let simmer for about an hour.


As Thomas Keller says, “You start learning the second time you make a recipe”  (Or something to that effect) I finished simmering the soup, but I didn’t end up assembling it into the bowls with the crouton and the whole bit.  I made a couple big mistakes, which were enough for me not to want to finish it.  It’s clear in retrospect, but nothing I can do about it now except try again.   As far as the first attempt goes, I’m done and want to move on.

– Taste, taste, taste.  Keep tasting everything through the process.  The main problem I had was that my stock was weak, way weak, would-give-water-competition-in-a-taste-test weak.   I think it wasn’t simmering hot enough, so it didn’t actually pull out all it could have in the 5 hours.  If I tasted the stock at the end of the 5 hours, I could have done something.  Either reduced it, or cooked it a little more. I also think I can stick with more of the meaty bones and less of the bone-only bones.  (I added some bone-only bones because I thought there was too much meat on the neck bones that I had)

– The onions took way too long to cook and even then, it never got to the level of brown that was pictured in the book.  Again, I think I wasn’t cooking it hot enough.   I think I have some historical fears of burning stuff, so I’m over-compensating in the other direction.