Back to Basics Eight - Beef Stock
So after making our chicken soup the other day, we made chicken stock. It was delicious, I drank it mindfully and with great reverence and care. It is all gone.
Back to the Cookie House then, this time we are going to make beef stock. It is very similar to do, with a few small tweaks. We made the chicken stock blonde, or nude I suppose, what I mean by that is we didn’t brown our bones or our veg before we added the water and let heat and time do the rest. This gave us a subtle and fresh stock, or bone broth if you prefer the modern handle, suitable for delicate dishes like vegetable soup, noodles‘n more, a nice light sauce, anything we want to add layers of flavour to without adding depth of flavour.
For our beef stock we are going for a more robust stock, the bones and the veg therefore must be browned first - browned but not burnt, if you burn it now it will hold that taint all the way through to the last mouthful.
A lot of chefs brown their bones and veg in the oven, I have no interest in cleaning the oven and an extra pan after the bones have spat all over the place, so I brown them in a little oil in my big stock pot. Ready? Let’s begin.
Beef bones, I got two kilos but Bruno and Jess got one each so we probably ended up with about a kilo and a half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
Woody herbs, again I used rosemary as it is what I have growing at the moment
8 whole black peppercorns
Heat your oil in your stock pot and brown your bones all over, like this
Now clatter in your roughly chopped veg and herbs and pepper and brown until you get some good colour in your veg, but again, no burning! Like this
Good. Now, add your splash of vinegar and then cover the lot in water, no sticking out bits, bring to the boil, drop the heat to a simmer and then simmer, simmer, simmer, simmer, topping up the water anytime anything sticks out.
You need to cook this for at least six hours, eight is better, twelve is better still. It is 2pm now, I will leave this on my combustion stove all night and then strain it in the morning. At no time should this boil, we are looking at a nice simmer only.
When you have decided it has suffered enough, strain the stock, discard the bones and vegetable residue. Put it in the fridge and when it is cold lift off any fat that forms on the surface, you could use this to fry some potatoes and eggs in if you want to, or discard it, just make sure if you want to use it that you keep it in the fridge and eat it within four days. Same goes for the stock. I will sup my way through a mug of it every morning, freeze some for cooking, hmmm, a poor man’s stroganoff would be perfect for this kind of weather.....