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!
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.
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.