I once spent three of the most interesting days of my life in the kitchens of a Chinese restaurant, Fung Shing, in Lisle Street, London, (see Food for Fort: Requiescat Fung Shing) watching the workings of the kitchen. Its presiding spirit was a chef affectionately known as Uncle Wu, who was as modest as he was brilliant. Every day provided revelations and delights. One of them is the stock below, which he used as the base for many dishes. It is fabulously easy to make. It has no vegetables in it of any kind. And it produces a stock of mellifluous blandness and depth.
1kg chicken bones or meat
1kg pork ribs or meat
1 kg unsmoked bacon
6 litres water
Place all the ingredients in a large pan. Add the water. Now, what I do is to put the massive pan into the oven overnight, or for not less than eight hours, on an ‘S’ for slow setting (ie about 100C/225F/gas mark 1/4). The contents come very slowly to the heat when the flavours are leached from the meat and bones, so that you’re left with a naturally clear stock and you don’t have to do any skimming or clarifying. On the other hand you can bring the pan to a boil, boil vigorously while grey scum rises to the top, which you then skim off. When the froth is white, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and let it mutter away for two to three hours. Strain and it’s ready to use.