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Beef Stock

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Recipe

No other chapter in this book except From Stock to Soup starts with stock, although stock is relevant to many of them. However, while commercial chicken stock can be used, there is really no adequate substitute for homemade beef stock. My English friends tell me, in their days of wrath, that game bird stock can be used. Game birds are cheap and readily available to them, but not to us.

Canned beef consommé or broth is, at best, unfortunate. In desperation, it is possible to use canned beef madrilène, which at least has some gelatin in it. All over Europe, even in Italy, stock (bouillon) cubes are used. In general, I don’t like these compressed bits of flavoring that are heavy with salt. The beef variety is the least successful, though some cheating is possible (see Fake Beef Stock).

This recipe, with its variations for cooking in the oven (those with an Aga can use it) and in a slow-cooker, shows how important beef stock is to me. Many people may be more comfortable leaving an oven or a slow-cooker on for prolonged periods of time than their stove top.

Once all the lovely stock is made, freeze whatever is not being used immediately. It keeps virtually forever.

Two thirds cup (180 ml) of Glace de Viande  can be stirred into either stock for added richness or to strengthen weak stock.

Please note that this is a two-stage recipe. The first is a bone broth. The way it is treated determines whether the final stock will be brown and hearty or lighter (traditionally a white stock). For the slightly lighter effect, the bones are not browned and carrots and celery are used rather than the tomatoes and garlic of the brown stock. The bone broth is always strained at the end of stage one to allow enough room for adding the beef shin in stage two.

The finished stocks made with these bone broths will gel when cold. However, that made in the slow-cooker will not gel, since it doesn’t reduce or extract as much gelatin unless boiled to reduce by a cup and a half, and even then it will be a weak gel. For the oven/stove methods, if the yield after the second stage is somewhat higher than the mentioned one, once the stock has been strained, reduce to 14 cups (3.5 l) for a richer, gelling stock.

With any method, the recipe is done in stages and can be stopped after stage one and refrigerated. To continue with the recipe, bring the refrigerated broth to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, strain, and proceed with stage two.

Yield: Makes 14 cups (3.5 l) on top of the stove or in the oven, 8 cups (2 l) in a slow-cooker

Ingredients

  • 3½ pounds (15 kg) veal knuckle, split
  • 3 large tomatoes, for brown stock
  • 6 cloves garlic, for brown stock
  • 2 medium onions, cut in half
  • 2 medium ribs celery, for white stock
  • 3 medium carrots, for white stock
  • 4½ pounds (2 kg) beef shin with bone, cut across by the butcher into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-cm) lengths

Directions

To make this in a slow-cooker, the recipe must be halved, producing 8 cups (2 l).

Stage one (bone broth)

Preroasting for a Brown Stock: Place the rack in the center of the oven and heat to 500°F (260°C; highest gas mark; #9 British regulo).

Place the veal knuckle, tomatoes, garlic, and onions (half the amounts if using a slow-cooker) in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables and roast 25 minutes more.

Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Place the roasting pan on top of stove over high heat. Add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Bring to a boil, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.

On top of the stove:

For a Brown Stock, in a large stockpot, place the preroasted solids and the liquid from the roasting pan. Add 15 cups (3.75 l) water, or enough to cover 2 inches (5 cm).

For a White Stock, place the veal knuckle, onions, celery, and carrots in a large stockpot. Add 16 cups (4 l) water, or enough to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).

For either, bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, in which gentle bubbles break the surface, and cook for 8 hours. Skim (see Notes) and check the level of the water every few hours; it should remain about 2 inches (5 cm) above the bones. You will need to add 6 (1.5 l) to 8 cups (2 l) water in an 8-hour cooking time unless an otoshi-buta is used. 

In the oven:

Adjust the oven temperature, or heat it, to 300°F (149°C; gas mark #2; between #1 and #2 British regulo), the rack should be at the lowest possible level, with no other racks in the oven.

For a Brown Stock, in a large stockpot, combine the preroasted solids and the liquid from roasting pan. Add 15 cups (3.75 l) water, or enough to cover 2 inches (5 cm).

For a White Stock, place the veal knuckle, onions, celery, and carrots in a large stockpot. Add 16 cups (4 l) water, or enough to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).

For either, bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Lower the heat to 250 F (121 C; gas mark #1/2; between #1/4 and #1/2 British regulo) and cook for 11 hours. Check the water level every few hours; it should remain about 2 inches (5 cm) above the bones. You will need to add approximately 8 cups (2 l) in a 12-hour cooking period unless an otoshi buto is used.

In a 4- to 5-quart (4- to 5-1) slow-cooker:

For a Brown Stock, place the half-quantity of preroasted ingredients and the liquid from the roasting pan in the slow-cooker with 7 cups (1.75 l) water.

For a White Stock, place the half-quantity of veal knuckle, onion, celery, and carrots in the slow-cooker with 8 cups (21) water. Turn the slow cooker on to Low and cook for 12 hours.

For all methods:

Strain the broth and discard the solids. Skim the fat. Add enough water to make 16 cups (4 l) for the stove-top and oven methods, 8 cups (2 l) for the slowcooker method.

Stage two (the stock)

On top of the stove: Return the liquid to the stockpot, with the beef shin. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, so bubbles are gently breaking the surface, for 2 hours and 30 minutes. The meat should be tender.

Remove the beef shin from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Poke or scoop the marrow out of the bones and reserve. Reserve the meat and return the bones to the pot for 30 minutes.

In the oven: Return the liquid to the stockpot, with the beef shin. Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Place the pot back in the oven. Cook for 3 hours. The meat should be tender.

Remove the shin from the pot. Separate the meat from the bones and reserve the meat. Return the bones to the pot. Cook for 1 hour.

In a slow-cooker: Return the liquid to the slow-cooker, with the half-quantity of beef shin. Cook on Low for 5 hours.

Remove the shin from the pot. Separate the meat from the bones, reserve the meat, and discard the bones.

For all methods: When the meat is cool enough to handle, tear or cut it into bite-sized pieces and reserve for use in Dividend Beef in the Pot  or other soups.

Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the bones, if necessary. Skim the fat. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Remove the fat from the top and the sediment from the bottom of the stock (see Notes). Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze.

Notes

While stock does not have to be skimmed continuously after the first skimming when it has come to a boil, occasional skimming is an aid to clear stock. Also, in cases where the fat is very strongly flavored (lamb, for instance), skimming will prevent that strong flavor from getting into the stock. After the stock has finished cooking, it should be allowed to sit for around twenty minutes, when a final skimming can take place. If it is all possible, the stock should be refrigerated overnight. The fat will rise to the surface and harden, making it easier to remove. The sediment will settle to the bottom of the stock. It can be removed as well. I don’t bother if I am using the stock for an earthy bean soup, but I do if I am making an elegant consommé. To separate the sediment from the bottom of liquid stock, spoon the clear stock from the top, leaving the sediment behind. If the stock has gelled, turn it out of its bowl and scrape off the sediment-laden layer. I tend to eat it. Clarification may remove it, but it is iffy.


© 1998 Barbara Kafka
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 14 servings.

12kcal (1%)
2mg (0%)
0mg (0%)
36mcg RAE (1%)
44mg
2mg
2g
0g
0g
0g
5mg (2%)
8mg (0%)
0g (1%)
0g (0%)
0mg (1%)
 

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