Homemade Jellied Beef Stock

There’s many a time when a recipe calls for beef stock and you may have some in the cupboard in a can or you might just throw in a stock cube.  That’s all fine and good when you haven’t had time to worry about making your own, but you have to admit, there’s nothing quite like homemade.

A few posts back, I mentioned the new book I ordered, Mrs. Beeton How to Cook.  I said I was going to make the Ox Cheeks, but I need a jellied beef stock to make it.  Luckily, Mrs. B. has a recipe in the same book for just that very thing!

Soooooo….

Two weekends ago, I ordered 5kg/11lbs of beef bones and one pig’s trotter from the butcher (Thanks, Nick!) and we picked them up this past Saturday.  I was amazed at the size of the bones…I swear they were dinosaur bones they were so big!  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but they are quite big.  Let’s put it this way…the largest bone weighed just over 1kg/2lbs!

As the process takes several hours (12 hours alone, just for the simmering), I decided to break it down into three days.  On Sunday, I roasted the bones and prepped all the veggies and herbs.  Monday morning I had to saute the veggies, add the wine, water, bones, trotter and herbs and let it do its thing by simmering for 12 hours.  The house smelled lovely during the day.

~~JELLIED BEEF STOCK~~

*Makes 2 litres/8.5 cups   *Prep time: 1 hour 15 min

*Cooking time: 12 hours 30 min first day, 4 hours second day

You’ll need: 2 roasting tins and your largest stock pot

This stock is best started early in the morning so that it has plenty of time to cook.  It can then be cooled overnight and reduced the following day to give a rich, unctuous stock.

5kg/11lbs beef or veal bones

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large carrot, roughly chopped

1 stick celery, roughly chopped

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 bay leaf

100g/4oz large mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 tomato, roughly chopped

300ml/10fl oz red wine

1 pig’s trotter, split in half (have the butcher do this)

small bunch of thyme

1 small tarragon sprig

1 tsp black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 220C/425F.  Arrange bones in the roasting tins and place in the oven.  roast for 1 hour, turning occasionally so that they brown evenly, then remove from the oven and pour off any melted fat.  If desired, save the fat to make roasted potatoes at a later date.

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot and add the carrot, celery and onion and cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes or until well caramelized.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, mushrooms and tomato and continue to cook until the mixture is almost dry and beginning to stick to the pan.

Add the red wine and continue cooking until it has reduced by half, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the trotter to the pan along with 2 litres/8.5 cups cold water, then add half the roasted bones.  Give everything a good stir before adding the remaining bones.  Add another 4 litres of cold water, or enough to cover the bones well.

(Either my pan was too small or the bones were too big because I was not able to add all the water required to cover the bones completely as you can see in the photo.  I therefore, had to stir it around every so often to move the bones around and get them into the liquid)

Turn the heat to high and bring the stock to a simmer, but do not allow to boil.  skim to remove any scum that rises to the surface and add the herbs and peppercorns.  Continue to simmer without boiling for 12 hours, skimming as necessary.

Strain the stock through a very fine sieve or chinois (a conical sieve with a very fine mesh) into a large bowl and allow it to cool overnight.

The next morning, remove and discard any fat that has risen to the top and pour the stock back into the cleaned stockpot.  Bring to a boil and reduce, skimming as necessary until you are left with 2 litres.

(I remelted the fat that I removed, strained it and used the cleaned fat to make seeded fat balls for the birds!)

Remove the stockpot from the heat and leave to cool.  Chill until cold then pour into re-sealable 250ml/9fl oz containers, label and freeze up to 3 months.

To use, allow the stock to thaw out then dilute with an equal quantity of water for a full flavored beef stock.

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Who was Mrs. Beeton?

Who was Mrs. Beeton?

Born Isabella Mayson on 12 March 1836 in the City of London, England,  Mrs Beeton was to become the eldest of 21 children, the result of her father dying and her mother re-marrying Henry Dorling who had four children of his own. Dorling was a successful printer who specialized in race-cards – the family actually lived at Epsom race course in Surrey – and through his generosity, Isabella was sent to Heidelberg, Germany where she received a good education for girls in those days.

In 1856, she married childhood friend Samuel Beeton who had become a wealthy publisher.  Isabella began her career as a writer through her husband’s successful periodical The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.  She initially penned articles on running a household and cookery; a task she was very knowledgeable on after having to look after her 20 siblings.

In 1861 her articles were collectively published in a book called ‘The Book of Household Management’. With the modern world upon the nation, the book was designed for women who were either deprived of family support and advice due to moving to another part of the country or settling abroad, or just new to the running of a household because of a rise in social circumstances. It contained advice regarding household management including the duties of the mistress and various servants, etiquette, childcare, fashion, entertaining and over 2,000 recipes.

Not only was it illustrated with coloured pictures on most of the pages, but more importantly, it was the first book to give exact quantities in the recipes – the format which we are now all used to. The book also included recipes from other cultures and made use of commercial branded items such as Worcestershire Sauce and available convenience foods such as mushroom ketchup and baking powder. Everything the modern woman needed to run a successful home and family.

With most Victorian middle-class households owning a copy of this wonderful book, Samuel Beeton saw its potential and requested his wife to rework each successive edition. All this in-depth information made for a hefty book with over 1000 pages so when the printing and binding costs made it relatively expensive, Isabella Beeton produced a smaller and cheaper book called The Shilling Cookery Book which could be afforded by even more people and was particularly useful for everyday use.

Mrs. Beeton wrote another book called A History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all things connected with Home Life and Comfort and also started another magazine in 1861 called The Queen, the Ladies’ Newspaper which is of the longest running English female magazines, the successor to which is still published today – Harpers & Queen Magazine.

In 1865 Isabella Beeton died at the age of 28 of puerperal fever 2 weeks after giving birth to her fourth child. Me Beeton spent the rest of his life reprinting and Household Management, which remained in print for more than 50 years and is still available to buy today.

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From Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management….

QUEEN CAKES

INGREDIENTS – 1 lb. of flour, 1/2 lb. of butter, 1/2 lb. of pounded loaf sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teacupful of cream, 1/2 lb. of currants, 1 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, essence of lemon, or almonds to taste.

Mode.—Work the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour, add the sugar and currants, and mix the ingredients well together. Whisk the eggs, mix them with the cream and flavouring, and stir these to the flour; add the carbonate of soda, beat the paste well for 10 minutes, put it into small buttered pans, and bake the cake from 1/4 to 1/2 hour.

Grated lemon-rind may be substituted for the lemon and almond flavouring, which will make the cakes equally nice.

Time. 1/4 to 1/2 hour.

Average cost, 1s. 9d.

Seasonable at any time.