Basic Beef Stock

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Good beef stock is essential for many sauces, soups, and braised dishes, and there is really no substitute. Your butcher should be able to provide meaty shanks if you request them a day in advance. Also request that the shank bones be cut into 2-inch pieces for easier handling. Mushrooms and leeks are good additions to beef stock. For additional flavor and a deeper color, add a little fresh tomato (leftover tomato scraps, for example) in summer, or a couple of canned organic tomatoes in winter.

Makes3 quarts


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Dietary Considerationlow-fat

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturemeaty, rich

Type of Dishstock


  • 6 pounds meaty beef shanks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 2 thyme branches
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Roast the meaty shanks in a heavy-duty roasting pan for 20 to 25 minutes, until thoroughly browned, turning once. Over medium-high heat, sauté the carrots, onions, and celery in olive oil for 5 minutes to caramelize them lightly. Put the roasted bones and 5 quarts cold water in a large stainless steel stockpot and bring to a boil. Deglaze the roasting pan with a little water, vigorously scraping with a wooden spoon, and add these flavorful pan drippings to the stockpot. When the stock comes to a full boil, skim off the gray foam. Add the carrots, onions, celery, parsley, thyme, bay, peppercorns, and, if you wish, salt. Use salt sparingly if you intend to make a reduction later—the stock will become saltier as it reduces.

  3. Turn the heat to low and simmer very slowly for 4 to 5 hours, until the broth tastes rich and is a light caramel color. Strain through a finemesh colander or sieve. Allow the stock to cool completely; remove fat from the surface and promptly refrigerate. The stock is ready to use as is, or it may be reduced further to create a glaze or sauce.


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