- About 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones
- 1 calf, beef, or pig foot, preferably cut into pieces
- 3 pounds meaty bones such as short ribs and beef shanks
- 1 small can or jar tomato paste (optional)
- 4 or more quarts cold filtered water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 onions, ends removed and coarsely chopped (skin may be left on)
- 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bouquet garni made with parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, tied together
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, or green or white peppercorns, crushed
Makes 4-5 quarts
Good beef stock requires several sorts of bones: knuckle bones and feet impart large quantities of gelatin to the broth; marrow bones impart flavor and the particular nutrients of bone marrow; and meaty ribs and shanks add color and flavor. We have found that grass-fed beef bones work best–the cartilage melts more quickly, and the smell and flavor is delicious.
- Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot, toss with vinegar and cover with cold water. Let stand for 1/2 to 1 hour. Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a stainless steel roasting pan. For a particularly aromatic stock, brush the bones with tomato paste. Brown at 350 degrees in the oven, about ½ hour. When well browned, add these bones to the pot. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold filtered water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a simmer and carefully skim any scum that comes to the top. After you have skimmed, add the vegetables, bouquet garni, and peppercorns.
- Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 24 hours.
- Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl or several 2-quart Pyrex measuring cups. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage
Note: The marrow may be removed from the marrow bones a couple of hours into the cooking, and spread on whole grain sourdough bread. If left in the pan for the entire cooking period, the marrow will melt into the broth, resulting in a broth that is cloudy but highly nutritious.
Variation: Lamb Stock
Use lamb bones, especially lamb neck bones and riblets. Ideally, use all the bones left after butchering the lamb. Be sure to add the feet if you have them. This makes a delicious stock.
Variation: Venison Stock
Use venison meat and bones. Be sure to use the feet of the deer and a section of antler if possible. Add 1 cup dried wild mushrooms if desired.