The Sauce: Beef Stock – Homemade beef stock is a rich sauce that adds depth to soups, stews, sauces, gravies, dressings, vegetables, rice and noodles. It excels stock from a jar, can or box and creates dimension in dishes.
I’m a believer
Beef stock simmering for hours is admittedly a luxury experience, cheap but luxurious to the bone. Most of the time you can be doing something else while it simmers but it’s an all day process. What makes me a believer is that made-from-scratch stock is like nothing else you can find in a jar, can, or box. Ramp up recipes with the added quality scratch stock makes. Use it in soups, sauces, gravies, dressings, wok cooking, pasta sauces, mushrooms, vegetables, rice, noodles, stew and chili. French Onion Soup is one of my favorite dishes made with homemade beef stock. The dimension and depth takes cooking to a different planet.
You may connect with your local butcher shop for fresh beef bones. Plus don’t wait until your vegetables are a little sorry looking and leap to the soup solution. Use dry paper-ey onions, hard orange carrots and crisp celery stalks. Find some leafy green parsley and fresh twiggy thyme. The all day slow cooking yields a liquid to enrich every dish it touches. Not a secret but almost sacred, a sauce for all seasons.
Recipe: Beef Stock
Prep Time: 60 Minutes | Inactive Time: 12 Hours | Cook Time: 8 Hours | Yield: 16-18 Cups | Level: Easy
- 2 lbs beef bones, cut in 2-3 inch pieces
- 1 lb beef shank, 1-inch thick
- 1/2 calf’s foot, split lengthwise
- 3 cups rough diced onion
- 2 cups rough diced carrots
- 1 cup rough diced celery
- 2 ounces tomato paste or puree
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley stems
- 5 spring of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
Special Equipment – large stock pot, roasting pan, colander, fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, large bowl, storage containers
1 Preheat broiler on 500 degrees.
3 Remove bones to a large stock pot and pour off most of the grease.
4 Place the roasting pan over a burner, add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables stirring occasionally until they begin to brown. Remove them to the stock pot.
6 Add tomato paste, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves plus enough cold water, about 14-16 cups, to cover all ingredients in the stock pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 6 or more hours.
7 Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer. Chill to allow the fat to rise to the top and solidify. Scrap off the fat and discard. Place the stock in containers and refrigerate or freeze.
To rewash the bones and vegetables after straining, place them back in the stock pot and cover with water a second time. Bring to a boil then simmer for half as long as the first batch. Combine with the liquid from the first wash. Don’t rewash game.
Add cold water to the bones, bring to a boil and then simmer gently to help prevent cloudy stock.
Ask the butcher for calf bones cut in chunks and a hoof split in half before wrapping.
Cool the stock quickly to prevent spoilage. Set the container with stock in a sink filled with ice water deep enough to surround sides. May also place clean ice packs in zipper bags and place directly in stock.
Never add salt to stock. Pure stock won’t taste seasoned. Salt is added after it is added to dishes to avoid over salting reduced sauces.
Stock can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for 4 months. Label and store the stock in 1-4 cup containers. Fill ice cube trays and freeze for small portions. Once frozen pop out and store in freezer zipper bags.
If a split calf’s foot is used, the finished stock will cool to a natural gelatinous composition. This is desirable but not essential to a really
A word on the difference between stock and broth. There are lots of views on this topic. For example, stock is made with bones where broth isn’t, or stock is unsalted and broth is
seasoned, or stock is richer than broth. Whichever definition you prefer, this recipe is made with bones, it’s unsalted and richer than the average broth which means it’s a stock.
Use beef stock as a base for soups, gravies, sauces, dressings, stew, chili, mushrooms, pasta sauces, wok cooking, vegetables, rice, noodles; it’s a flavor booster. When a recipe calls for beef stock, this is it.
- Exchange beef for veal or game.
Inspiration – Marta Mirecki
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: September 27, 2012