Good morning everyone. Yesterday, I made a big pot of beef stock. From the start I should say you can certainly make less at one time by cutting the recipe down, but if I'm going to the trouble I make a lot at once and freeze it in smaller batches of either cups or pints, depending on what containers I have not in use.
In case anyone here doesn't know the difference, let me clear up one thing- the difference between beef broth and beef stock. My neighbor came by yesterday and said something smelled good. I told her I was making beef stock. She asked why I didn't just buy the canned broth in the grocery store- it's the same thing. I beg to differ. I'm not saying that beef broth can't be good in and of itself, but beef stock just has more depth of flavor and richness to it. The difference is that the bones are roasted along with the vegetables before being simmered in stock. Broth is made by just simmering beef and bones in water with the seasonings. Once you try it, you'll see what I mean. So here's how it's done at my house.
7 or 8 pounds of beef bones sawed into 2 or 3 inch pieces ( I go to one store here in town that cuts all their own meat and they will sell me bones with very little meat very cheaply. Another option is to ask for soup bones. Most meat departments will sell them to you, if they have access to a meat saw)
2 large onions, cut in quarters ( don't bother to peel- the peel adds flavor and color, and gets strained out at the end)
2 stalks of celery with the leaves, cut in thirds
2 large carrots cut into thirds
1 leek, split down the middle, cleaned and then cut into halves
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and chopped in half
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup dry red wine
8 quarts of water
Note: Almost every recipe I see has more pepper than mine and salt. I prefer to keep the pepper lighter and omit the salt until I'm actually going to use the stock in a recipe.
Pre-heat oven to 350
Spread the bones in a roasting pan in one layer. place in the oven and roast for one hour, turning bones over after the first thirty minutes. Take out of the oven and turn over again, and lightly spread tomato paste over the bones. Add the vegetables on top, up the oven to 400 degrees, and roast all till the bones and vegetables are browned, about thirty to forty minutes, depending on your oven. The longer the roasting time without burning anything, the more depth of flavor!
When bones and veggies are brown, place the pan on the stove top of medium heat and use the wine to deglaze the pan and get all the bits of flavor stuck to the bottom. Place all in a large stock pot ( I use a large canner for this.) Add 8 quarts of water. Bring all to a low boil, turn heat down to a simmer, and let simmer lightly for about four hours, or until reduced a bit. I guage the reduction by when the water level in the pot has gone down an inch or a little more. At this point, I remove bones and veggies with a slotted spoon and discard. Simmer for at least another hour to reduce the stock more. Then strain it. When cool enough, place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, the fat will have congealed on top, and is easily removed. Yes, low carbers, I do remove the fat, because I prefer to add fat to the stock when making various recipes. I then freeze it in containers of either one cup or pints, ready for use in many recipes.
I know this sounds like a lot to make beef stock, but when you do you will see it's worth the taste and you deserve it! I save stock making for a day when there isn't a lot of running to do (preferably rainy and/or cold.) And there is absolutely nothing like the beef vegetable soup this will make for a cold day- talk about comfort food!
There are many variations to what veggies to use in the stock. Many people use a parsnip or two cut in big chunks, etc. Some totally omit the tomato paste and/or wine. This doesn not have a tomato flavor when done, but I think it adds flavor to the stock. If you don't want to use wine, deglaze with a cup of water.