By Matthew Thompson, Associate Food Editor for EatingWell Magazine
A few months ago, I took on an ambitious cooking project that made my wife scratch her head. It left our kitchen a mess and the entire house smelling like smoke; it took up an entire Saturday and, worst of all, it didn't even produce a viable meal! My poor spouse thought I was crazy: what had I gained from all that effort? But then she tasted the result.
I had created a thick, brown, butter-like paste called "beef extract"--a sort of bone-marrow jelly--by boiling beef stock into oblivion. It tasted amazing. It was earthy and deep--not salty, exactly, but with a hint of filet mignon, portobello mushrooms and homemade broth. It had a roundness and depth to it that filled your entire mouth the way the sound of a foghorn fills your chest. A teaspoon of it imparted an unspeakable savoriness to tomato sauces, added depth to stir-fries and transformed toast into a kind of crispy, hot drug. We couldn't get enough.
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