Economical Brown Beef Stock
A classic brown beef stock is made with meat and bones and is simmered for eight hours. Without the meat it becomes less expensive and hence more economical. The bones and vegetables are usually cooked whole or in large pieces, which helps to keep the stock clear, but they require a long cooking time to extract their flavor. In this recipe I cut the bones and vegetables into smaller pieces, thus reducing the cooking time by more than half.
Once the stock has come to its initial boil, it is important to adjust the heat to prevent rapid boiling during the lengthy cooking time. If the stock boils vigorously, it will become cloudy, and it may even appear as though milk has been added. The cloudy stock can be used, but when a clear one is needed, it will have to be clarified.
To make this recipe, you will need a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. If one is not available, the ingredients can easily be halved to fit the size pot you have. Be sure to leave the stock uncovered while it is cooling. Trapped warm air can sour a stock, making it unusable.
* Beef bones have become increasingly hard to find in supermarkets, since meat is now cut and packaged at a central warehouse and shipped to local stores without bones. When bones are not available, use 2 pounds beef shank and 6 pounds of chicken backs or necks.
A bouquet garni consists of 4 to 5 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried) which I tie up in a celery stalk cut in half. The reason for tying the ingredients together is to enable you to discard them easily once the cooking is finished. If you plan to strain the stock or sauce in which the bouquet garni has been cooking, it is not necessary for you to tie up the ingredients, although it makes skimming easier.
1. Place the fresh or dried thyme in the hollow of the celery stalk half and cover with the bay leaf and parsley sprigs.
2. Cover with the remaining celery stalk half and tie together.
Double Bouquet Garni: If a recipe calls for a double bouquet garni, just double the ingredients and tie with the same celery stalk.
Makes5 to 6 quarts
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Taste and Texturemeaty
Type of Dishstock
- 8 to 10 pounds beef bones or veal bones, cut into 2-inch pieces*
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
- 4 carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
- 4 onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 8 quarts cold water
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 leeks, washed and diced (optional)
- 1 turnip, cut into 4 pieces, each piece stuck with 1 clove
- 4 garlic cloves
- Double Bouquet Garni (see Notes)
- 15 peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 500°.
Place the bones in a large roasting pan, and brown in the oven, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a stockpot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the carrots and onions and cook, occasionally scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the browned bones to the stockpot and cover with the water. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, 30 to 45 minutes.
Reduce the heat and, simmer, uncovered, for 3½ hours. Skim the surface several times during the simmering to remove any foam that appears.
6. Strain and allow the stock to cool uncovered before refrigerating. Remove any fat from the surface when cold, or before using. Freeze the portion not used, or reduce to form meat glaze (Glace de Viande). Four quarts of stock will reduce to yield about 1½ cups of glace de viande.
Fonds Brun Rapide (Quick Beef Stock): This version of beef stock cuts the preparation time by about 1 hour. Place all the ingredients, without browning, into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. While the stock comes to a boil, blacken an onion as follows: Cut the onion in half and place both halves, cut side down, in a hot, dry (without butter or oil) skillet. The onion will blacken within 3 to 4 minutes. Adding the blackened onion to the stockpot will give the stock the brown color it would otherwise be missing.
Although their flavors are slightly different, either stock works well as a brown beef stock. One word of caution: The time saved by not browning the bones and vegetables may be equaled by the effort needed to clean your skillet after blackening the onion.
Fonds de Gibier (Game Stock): Follow the steps in the beef stock recipe to make a game stock, using 6 pounds of game meat and 7 pounds of bones. Add 10 juniper berries and 2 sage leaves.
1988 Richard Grausman