I am driven by consistency. It's essential to be able to repeat and to share a process and always get the same results. I am infatuated with perfectly imperfect. I am learning that the only consistent factor is inconsistency. A recipe is a framework, a guideline, a road map, a set of directions to follow to get a desired result. A recipe often does not account for the ever-changing variables in ingredients, kitchens, outside influences and interpretations.
We create recipes for ourselves and for others to follow and build upon. My biggest fear is that we will create a recipe that no one, including ourselves, will want to make. I hate being directed by a recipe. I much rather enjoy the idea of being coached. As we dove back into the land of broth we created a base that we could build with. As we have cooked with it and ingredients have been submerged in it the broth has evolved. The flavor is becoming more intense, richer, meatier, toastier. The flavors of what we cook and how we cook are shaping the broth.
The broth has developed. The question that rattles around in my head is how do we replicate the broth in its current state? Do we need to replicate it? What is, if there is one end goal for the broth? If I started a fresh batch of broth would I want to use some of the original broth to seed the flavors in the new broth? Is this step necessary or nostalgic.
As these ideas ricocheted around my head we set a seasoned pork shoulder into a pan of the broth we've been working with for a while. We put the shoulder in a 250°F oven with the convection fan on and cooked the shoulder for 6 hours. The fat browned and rendered. The meat became tender and unified with the broth. The broth evolved and the pork developed a flavor we would not have created without the use of the broth. Is this exact scenario repeatable? Probably not. But the essence of it certainly is, and maybe the technique is really what the recipe is all about.