Today is World Sauntering Day (aka International Sauntering Day), a holiday created in 1979 by W.T. Rabe in response to the growing popularity of jogging. It is believed to have begun when Rabe stayed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, USA. The Grand Hotel has the world’s longest porch at 660 feet (200 m). The idea behind the day was to encourage people to slow down and appreciate the world around them. Well . . . as with other special days, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc., I don’t approve of having 24 hours set aside for something that should be ongoing 365. But, like these other “special” days I can get in the spirit here.
To saunter is to walk at a leisured pace (which I rarely do). I also rarely saunter through life. I’m not identified as a driven soul for nothing. In my defense I am driven as the ancient mariner is driven, not like some rabid middle manager stuck in a mindless job trying to get on in the world and always falling behind. I know how to saunter when the time is right. For one thing, I can keep this post short and take time off this morning to walk by the lake in the cool of the morning. Meanwhile, I’ll muse on slow food for a bit.
Fast food is not quite the travesty it is commonly made out to be. Certainly, fast food as served up by the well-known multinational chains is dismal on all levels. But not all fast food is, by definition, bad – not even commercial fast food. I’m a big fan of Cincinnati chili which is about as fast as it gets. Order a 3-way and it’s in front of you before you can blink. This is deceptive, however. The chili (which is the part I love – not the spaghetti and cheese), has been slow cooked for hours before it is placed on a heater on the serving line to keep hot. I’ve spent many a wasted hour trying to replicate Gold Star and Skyline, not to mention the family-recipe chili you get in pokey Greek diners in hidden places. No luck. Giving you a recipe would be a complete waste of time. Skyline sells packets of chili mix to add to simmering ground beef if you start hankering – miles from southern Ohio (or northern Kentucky). It’s a fair simulacrum, but not the same. The only solution is to get on the road. My first stop when I visited (my in-laws were from the region) was Skyline for a bowl of plain – then another – and possibly a third.
Enough about fast food. In the spirit of sauntering through the day (which might get confused with laziness) I am going to do something I have never done before: repeat a recipe. This comes from my post on Cardinal Richelieu; a recipe for classic French meat glacé which is incredibly useful. To make it you must cook it for 24 hours, continuously, and the whole process takes about 36 hours. But . . . you have to do very little during those 36 hours. A recipe to saunter through. When I first posted this a friend noted the instruction that begins, “While sleeping . . .”
Glacé de la Viande
5 -6 lbs (2.5-3 k) beef bones, leg bones, cut in 2 to 3 inch lengths
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
3 -4 lbs (1.5-2 k) chuck roast, cut in large chunks (or other stewing beef)
2 -3 large onions, unpeeled, quartered
5 -6 cloves garlic, unpeeled, lightly crushed
3 -4 stalks celery, with leaves, cut in 2 inch pieces
3 -4 large carrots, scrubbed and cut in 2 inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 cups dry white wine
1 bunch parsley
4 -6 large bay leaves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
Place a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the broiler on high or preheat oven to 500°F/260°C
Lightly rub the marrow bones with olive oil, and place in a roasting pan. Place in the oven, and broil or roast until nicely browned on all sides, turning regularly, and watching closely so they do not burn.
Remove from the oven, and pour any grease and olive oil from roasting pan into a large (at least 12 quart) stock pot, adding more olive oil as needed, and setting the bones aside.
Heat the pot over high heat, add all of the vegetables, except the tomatoes and parsley, and cook until surfaces are browned and charred in places. Add the tomatoes, and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
Reserve the vegetables with the bones.
Add a little more olive oil to the pot if necessary, and brown the pieces of roast on all sides. Add the bones and vegetables to the pot, and fill three-quarters full with cold water.
Heat the roasting pan on the stovetop, and add the white wine to deglaze, scraping up all browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add this to the stock pot.
Add the parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns to the pot, and bring to a slow boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
Add more water to bring the level to 1″ from the top of pot, and return to a boil.
Partially cover and adjust the heat so the stock stays at an active simmer or very slow boil (should be bubbling lightly).
Simmer for at least 24 hours, adding more water every couple of hours as needed.
While sleeping, just reduce the heat slightly, cover completely, and go to bed; top up with water, increase heat, and return to a slow boil in the morning.
When done cooking, skim as much grease as possible from the surface, and strain the broth into another container, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much stock as possible. Discard the solids and refrigerate the broth until the fat solidifies on the surface.
Scrub the pot well, and return it to the stove top. Remove the fat from the stock and return the stock to the pot. You should have 4-5 quarts of stock at this point.
Bring to a full rolling boil, and reduce by about 90% (until only 2-2½ cups of thick syrup or paste remains).
You only have to pay close attention to the reducing stock for about the last 15-20 minutes to ensure the pot doesn’t burn dry.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until solidified, then freeze until needed. The most convenient way to freeze is to pour the glace into an ice cube tray, freeze solid, then pop the cubes out and store in the freezer in a Ziploc bag.
Yield: 2-2 ½ cups