Making a flavorful stock may seem like a complicated process, but it really is simpler than it may seem. All you need are good bones, fresh vegetables and herbs, water and some time to let things simmer. For a brown stock, which is another name for stock made with beef bones, roasting the bones and vegetables is a common procedure. This removes impurities, such as fat and blood, that can alter flavor, while also deepening the flavor of the beef bones and vegetables.
Select meaty beef bones, such as cross cut beef shank or short ribs. Use a sharp meat cleaver to cut the beef bones into 2- to 4-inch pieces, or ask a butcher at the store to cut them.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toss the bones with oil, such as olive oil, if desired, before placing them in a single layer in a roasting pan. Put the roasting pan in the preheated oven.
Roast the beef bones until they are golden brown, which may take from 30 to 60 minutes. Flip the bones once during roasting to make sure they're evenly browned.
Remove the pan of bones from the oven and reserve the fat from the roasting pan, setting it aside. Place the bones in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the pot to a simmer.
Add 1/2 cup of water or wine to the roasting pan to deglaze it, stirring to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the liquid into the pot with the bones.
Place whatever vegetables you are using in the roasting pan, tossing them with the reserved fat left from roasting the bones. Roast the vegetables in the oven until they are browned. Remove the vegetables from the oven and add them to the stockpot.
Simmer the stock, covered, for the desired length of time, typically from 3 1/2 hours to six hours or longer. Periodically skim the fat from the top of the liquid.
Remove the beef bones and strain the broth by pouring it in a large colander or a sieve lined with cheesecloth that is set over a large, heat-proof bowl. Discard the vegetables, herbs and seasonings that were used to simmer the stock.
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- Professional Cooking, College Version; Wayne Gisslen
- From a Cook to a Professional Chef; Ben Diaz
- The Elements of Cooking; Michael Ruhlman
- Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book; Jennifer Darling
- Experiment with flavors to find the mixture of vegetables and herbs that you like best. Stick to carrots, onions and celery, a combination commonly called mirepoix, or include garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley, thyme or leeks.
- Follow your recipe to figure out how much water and how many bones to use. Typically, stocks contain roughly 1 quart of water for every pound of beef bones.
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.