Basic Chinese Pork Stock
This stock, made with raw pork bones and meat is sometimes called a ‘White Stock’, or even a ‘Milk Stock’, by the Chinese because, unlike a Superior Stock, or even an everyday Chicken Stock, is quite opaque and somewhat ‘milky’ in appearance. As such, it doesn’t have quite the same elegance as a clear Superior Stock (and it would thus not typically be used in banquet soups, for example), but it is definitely rich and hearty and is particularly popular for use in Ramen style ‘soup-noodle’ dishes…
- 1Kg Pork Ribs;
- 1 Kg. Pork Hocks;
- 1 medium Onion;
- 4 – 6 Cloves Garlic;
- 3 -4 thick slices of Ginger;
- 1 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tsp. Salt;
- 1 tbsp. White Peppercorns.
Here is the pork I am using. I have blanched the meat first, using the same general method as for my Basic Chinese Chicken Stock, but you can omit this step if you wish. Clarity is less a concern for this sort of ‘rustic’ stock, but blanching does remove the bloody, raw taste of the meat that is particularly disliked by the Chinese and, in my experience, it generally makes for a better finished product.
Once you are ready to actually make the stock, you need to completely cover the ingredients with cold water. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 to 1 ½ liters per kilogram of meat is a good ratio. When making clear stocks, you generally want to avoid allowing the pot to boil and, instead, keep things at no more than a very gentle simmer. For this variety, however, a much more vigorous approach is just fine and you can let things bubble away at a lively level for a good four hours or so until the meat completely falls from the bone. The liquid will concentrate until it is roughly only a third to half the original volume and, as you can see, will take on a thick, milky appearance.
Once the stock has cooled somewhat, strain it to remove the solids. Going further and filtering it through cheesecloth or the like may be a bit of an over-refinement for some purposes but I usually take the trouble myself. Afterwards, you can refrigerate the stock for up to 4 or 5 days, or else pop it into the freezer. In the latter case, I sometimes make ‘stock-cubes’ using ¼ cup-size pudding molds so as to have handy size quantities for various uses.
Here is a cup of the finished product that I refrigerated in a small plastic container. Both the skin and the bones have leached out so much protein that it completely gels the stock when cool. Not only does this give the hot stock a lovely, rich mouth-feel (especially as a soup), but it allows one to easily incorporate the stock into the filling for ‘soup-filled dumplings’ such as Xiaolongbao. We’ll be looking at that particular use of the stock in due course…