Beef Stock

My mom gave me a dutch oven for my birthday, which is perhaps a little odd considering my birthday is in July and I received the gift in December. Someone was excited, I guess, to get me cooking soup. So with a dutch oven taking up space in my cabinets, and a new artisanal butcher right down the street, the stars were aligning – it was time to try my hand at a beef stock.

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I was really excited to go to The Butcher & Larder for the first time. I knew they sourced whole animals from reputable, sustainable farms – organic, pasture-plentiful, humane farms. I also knew they offered up daily sausages and pâtés in addition to the fresh cuts of meat. It’s no surprise, then, that I walked in looking for beef bones and walked out with a bag full of sausages (and bones, of course).

They took the liberty of roasting the bones, so that was one less step for me. Most recipes recommend roasting the bones first to bring out a deeper flavor in the stock. I started with a basic recipe from Simply Recipes, but added in a few extra ingredients at the last minute. This week – hopefully – I’ll share the soup that I made using the stock.

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Beef Stock
adapted from Simply Recipes

5 pounds beef bones (ask your butcher, and let them know you’re making a stock)
Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
5 stems fresh thyme
1 large chunk of ginger, chopped roughly
1/2 cup dry red wine
handful of peppercorns
water

If your bones are raw, start by roasting them in a 400° oven for 45 minutes to an hour. You can also roast the veggies, if you prefer – just coat them in olive oil.

Since my bones were already roasted, I started by sauteing my veggies – the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, and celery. Pour some olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven, then toss in all the chopped veggies. Saute on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Pour in the red wine and let it reduce to at least half.

There are endless variations on this – some people add mushrooms, or tomatoes, or tomato paste. Other herbs would be great, or you could toss in discarded veg parts like the stems of kale. You could up the Asian flavor by removing the carrots and celery and adding a dash or two of fish sauce or soy sauce.

When the wine is reduced, add the beef bones, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns to the pot. Fill the pot with water so that all the ingredients are covered. Let simmer on low heat, covered, for 6-8 hours. I let mine sit overnight.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the veggies and bones and discard them. Let the stock cool in the refrigerator. A layer of fat will rise to the top and solidify in the fridge, which makes it easy to remove. Just scoop it off the top and save it for later – you can use it in place of other oils for cooking in the future.

Strain the broth through a fine sieve and/or cheese cloth. From here, you can freeze the stock or keep it in the fridge for about a week or so. I froze half of mine in plastic tupperware.

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