Those jelly stocks you can buy in the supermarket are actually pretty good – they give a decent depth to your food but I think they just don’t really taste, well, beefy enough. You need to control the stock yourself to get something that really has that beautiful beef taste.
What you’ll need:
- Beef bones – I used leftover rib of beef – you can use uncooked bones if you can get them but there’s nothing wrong with using bones from cooked meat where you’ve not over-cooked them – the bones won’t have cooked too much first time round.
- 2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 1 – 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns.
Smear the bones with the tomato purée and roast, in a tin, in a hot oven for an hour or so – keep checking them to make sure they don’t burn but you do want them to darken as they roast.
30 minutes in add the veg to the same tin.
Remove from the oven and place in a large pot (be sure to scrape all the contents of the tin into the pot). Cover with water and add the bay leaves, thyme and peppercorn. Bring to a simmer but don’t boil your stock.
Allow to simmer for a few hours – I left mine for 4 hours, covered. Every so often check the stock and remove any froth that might have formed on the surface.
Now you need to strain the stock into a saucepan and begin to reduce.
Simmer the stock for a further 30 minutes. At this point I strained the stock again and then used a fat-separator jug (I’ll post a pic of one of these when I get chance) to remove most of the fat. You can do this with a spoon but those jugs are ultra-efficient. The stock should be reasonably “clean” by now.
Now reduce the stock further to intensify the flavour. Maybe another 30 minutes to an hour simmering.
Taste the stock – it should have a good beef taste to it but not be salty whatsoever.
You can store the stock in the freezer, dividing into small containers but I just used mine straight away in a beef stew. It’s really worth working your own stock like this – when you use it in other dishes you can really taste the difference compared to shop-bought stocks.
By John Loydall