Venison broth with Borage Ravioli
This is a special venison broth that can stand alone as a broth for pasta or, if you clarify it later, as a consomme. It’s stronger in flavor than stock, so if you use it as a base for stews or soups, remember that — and label your jars accordingly.
There are a few hard-to-find spices here, such as juniper berries, but they are important to the overall flavor and are worth looking for. If you can’t find them, you can order juniper berries here.
Making a good stock or broth is an all-day deal. Don’t take shortcuts, or your broth will suffer. Relax and let things happen as they will.
One note on technique: If you can possibly avoid it, do not let this broth boil. Simmer is OK, but never let it get to a rolling boil or the broth will get cloudy and it could extract bitter flavors from the meat and veggies.
Makes about a gallon
- 4-5 pounds venison bones (or antelope, moose or elk)
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 6 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 star anise pods
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 3 chopped carrots
- 3 chopped celery ribs
- Coat the bones with olive oil and salt well, then roast in a 400-degree oven until brown. If you can stand it, keep some meat on the bones — shanks are ideal for this. It will make a better broth. Put the bones in a large stockpot. I saw the bones into large pieces with a hacksaw; this lets me fit more bones into the pot, again, making a richer broth. Cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Skim the froth that forms on the surface and simmer very gently for 2-3 hours. You want the broth to steam and burble a little, not roil.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 2 hours.
- Using tongs, grab out all the bones and large bits and discard. Using a Chinese spider skimmer or slotted spoon, remove whatever else you can and discard.
- Set up a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot and line the sieve with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Slowly pour the venison broth through the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Discard the dregs in the broth pot, with will be loaded with sediment and other bits.
- Add salt to the clarified broth to taste and pour into quart jars and freeze (or steam-can — you cannot can broth in boiling water). If you freeze, leave a lot of space at the top of the jar or the jars will crack when the broth freezes. Use within 9 months.