Where's the beef?

Just for Caro, how to make Beef Stock.

We're all in agreement that there is no commercial beef stock/broth that can manage to rise above "vile." So how do we get something palatable?

This is what I do, and this also applies to both lamb and veal stock:

Gather up assorted bony cuts of beef with meat attached. Ribs, shanks, oxtails, whatever, etc. Nothing fancy, usually the cuts that you'd never use for much. Get those. Get enough of those to fit in your stockpot, whatever size that may be. Now, put those bones in a roasting pan and season them with salt and pepper. Here is my cheat: rub them lightly with tomato paste and then dust them with flour. Put in an oven at 350F/180C and brown them. (This requires a bit of vigilance, as you want brown, not black. Black means you must do this over.)

Put the bones in the stockpot and then add COLD, filtered water until it reaches about an inch off the brim. Put the heat as low as it goes. You want to see the very barest simmer, y'know, the odd bubble along the edge. That sorta thing. Do not move anything, do not stir anything.

Forget about it.

Once the water has evaporated sufficiently (we're talking hours--I leave mine overnight--but it's all unattended unless you have issues best dealt with by professionals) that some of the bones are above the surface, remove the beefy bits. CAREFULLY. You want as little to cloudify the liquid as possible. Keep liquid over heat and reduce by half. What we're after is a sort of concentrate, almost a demi-glace. Strain over 2-3 layers of cheesecloth. Allow fat to rise; discard. You may now reduce this further if you want to. (Normally I get 2 gallons of "broth" down to a 24 oz. jar...you do whatever.)

Remember, you can always dilute the concentrate back to broth, or stock, or whatever. But sometimes you want to sneak a real blast of beefiness into, say, a sauce...and you can cheat by dropping a spoonful of this, adding flavor and body, which is why you want it so concentrated. Oh, yeah, when it's refrigerated this will be seriously gelatinous.

No, I don't add aromatics or other flavorings. I can do that at the moment of cooking whatever I'm cooking with the stock. Even salt is looked at suspiciously.

HTH!

-J.

Comments

Suse said…
I have no interest in beef stock, I'm just here to say I like the choice of labels.

I must be the only person Blogger isn't hassling to switch.

(I feel so alone).
New Blogger resisted me fiercely when I wanted to get in, and once I'd decided it was better to avoid it, the brute took me forcibly.

I thought I'd love labels. But the PRESSURE!

(like the tomato paste idea - nice cheat)
Badger said…
Doesn't Bourdain do the tomato paste thing? Or was that just you, in a previous manifesto?
Joke said…
The tomato paste thing is a restaurant trick I picked up during my Wilderness Years. IIRC, Tony Bourdain adds it to the pot with the bones and caramelizes it before adding water.

-J.
julia said…
How about a chicken one? Same thing, only with chicken bones and junk attached?
Joke said…
Julia,

The over-abbreviated answer is yes. I use the leftover carcasses for the stock (basically chicken & water) and raw carcasses for broth (chicken, water and a few aromatics).

I'll post on chicken later today.

-J.
Caro said…
Mmm, thank you. That sounds delicious.

I love trying new recipes.

Blogger made me switch too. It wouldn't let me log in under my old account.

The good news was it didn't take my links away. I was worried about that.

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