After so much turkey over the festive period, l’ortolan chef Elliott Lidstone takes a moment to explain how utilising your left-over carcass can really bring alive the flavours in some other seasonal fare.
Turning your stock into to something really special
“As I have explained before, a good stock is at the very heart of a good sauce, and the great thing about a stock made from turkey or chicken is that it can be incredibly versatile.
We reduce our chicken stock by about three-quarters, and this will naturally darken the stock to a rich golden brown. Some people roast the bones to get this colouration, but at the restaurant we reduce our stock as this allows us to have more control over the end product.
All of the sauces on our menu start with the chicken stock as a base. But each dish uses a different sauce, which is flavoured by infusing the bones of each animal with the basic brown chicken stock, and then carefully blended with other flavours to make our dishes really special.
L’ORTOLAN VENISON SAUCE RECIPE
- 2 venison saddle carcasses (chopped and roasted)
- 2 garlic heads
- 1 celery stick
- 2 onions
- 3 carrots
- 100g blackberry puree
- 2 bay leaves
- Small bunch of thyme
- 6 juniper berries (crushed)
- 2 bottles of red wine (boiled for 5 minutes)
- Brown stock to cover
- Creme de mure
- Caramelise the vegetables, and then pour over the red wine. Add half of the roasted bones and cover with the stock.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and skim well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, skimming frequently.
- Pass through a sieve and set in fridge over night, removing the fat when set.
- Bring the sauce back to the boil and add half of the remaining bones. Cook for 20 minutes, then pass through a sieve.
- Add the thyme, juniper and remaining bones. Boil for 10 minutes, pass through muslin and season with crème de mure.
This fruity, and almost gin-smelling sauce adds a real depth and richness to gamey flavours of the wild venison; and as we tend to finished the sauce with a small amount of bitter chocolate we compliment the richness with pickled beetroot and cabbage to create a balanced experience within the dish.
Chocolate and venison is quite a classic combination, but if you over-kill with chocolate then you risk turning this main into a dessert. The same is true when you make a fish sauce. Finishing off the sauce with citrus can really cut through the richness of the fish really giving the dish a lift. The trick is to be careful with balance, add enough to complement the dish, but not to overpower it. Taste everything.
Don’t be scared to play about with sauces. Use recipes as a guideline and have the courage of convictions to really try something new. The more you play around the more confidence will grow. Using healthy, fresh ingredients is the key to creating healthy sauces. Make sure your bones and vegetables are fresh for your stocks, and when adding wine to a sauce if you wouldn’t drink it, then don’t add it!
To learn more about Sauces and how to get the best out of them in your kitchen why not have a go at our Cookery School Demonstrations“
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