Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we are encouraging every cook (well, every non-vegan cook) to master the simple craft of making an excellent pot of beef stock. Quality beef stock sold in gourmet shops is delicious, but outrageously expensive. Those supermarket cans of stocks and broths? Well, read the label. Less expensive than their gourmet shop counterparts, those cans are over-salted and still overpriced. Some commercial food manufacturers are shameless enough to add caramel coloring to their beef stocks and broths. That’s right… the same artificial coloring added to soft drinks is added to beef stock!
Some recipes for beef stock call for the use of whole vegetables (i.e., a few carrots, or a whole onion). We think that’s just a little too precious. The fact is, you get the same flavor from vegetable scraps and peels, so why use up perfectly good vegetables making beef stock? We’re using peels (see below), and are sure you can find a good use for the peeled veggies themselves. 🙂 Let’s get started!
Ingredients (Makes 2 quarts)
3 pounds beef bones (ask the butcher at your local market – bones are always available)
Peel and outer layer of 1 large, clean onion
Peel from 2 large, clean carrots
Bottom 2 inches from 1 bunch of celery, rinsed
1 small, very ripe tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon crushed herbes de provence
2 quarts cold water
1/4 cup dry red wine
Step 1) In a shallow pan, roast beef bones in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Transfer bones to a large stockpot. Don’t forget to scrape the roasting pan and transfer the scrapings (called “fond”) into the stockpot as well. Those scrapings might not look very appealing, but they contain a lot of flavor!
Step 2) Add all remaining ingredients except for the red wine to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least 4 hours… allowing the stock to simmer for 8 hours would be even better! [Note: Feel free to use a slow cooker instead of a stockpot, if you cannot leave a pot on the stove for so long – but DON’T cheat and reduce the cooking time!]
Step 3) After a minimum of 4 hours, and after the stock has turned a rich brown color and tastes fabulous (don’t forget to taste!), remove the stockpot from the burner. Carefully remove the bones, and then strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl (or just use a second pot).
Step 4) Stir 1/4 cup of dry red wine into the strained stock. Your Excellent Beef Stock is now ready to be used in your favorite recipes such as Beef Rouladen and Swedish Meatballs. You can also freeze your Excellent Beef Stock for later use. Enjoy!