This Beef Stock Recipe Is King
The best thing about beef stock, also known as brown stock, is its high gelatinization content which makes for a rich, flavorful stock that cannot be matched by any other stock. It is my favorite and the most highly sought stock because the sauces that you can make from a beef stock is unmatched. If you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant and served a rich decadent brown sauce to go with your steak, guaranteed it started out as beef stock. So let’s dive right in and find out the differences between the various types of beef stock.
Persons own stock flavor is unique. It is uncanny just how different stocks vary from person to person. And while everybody tends to follow the same recipe, it all comes down to execution. Love and care truly shine in things like beef stock, and because it is the foundation for all your sauces, it is very important that you make each batch with care and intention.
Beef Stock Types: White Stock and Brown Stock
White Beef Stock
White beef stock is the product of using unroasted/uncaramelized bones as well as limiting any color altering ingredients such as tomato paste. The white veal/beef stock is primarily used for beef soups, such as Vietnamese Pho, and for flavoring dishes that are primarily beef base. It’s not entirely economical to use beef bones for white stock, as the flavor is quite strong and you can get much more mileage per dollar using chicken stock in its place if you need a stock that is color neutral. Otherwise, you just may as well make brown stock and save your money and your time. For those reasons, we will omit the recipe for white beef stock and focus on the much more important brown beef stock.
Beef Stock Recipe
For the majority of the time, when you are producing beef stock, you’re going to be producing a Brown Beef Stock. A brown stock is a stock that you derive the majority of your sauces with. A brown stock is made from the bones of veal or beef that have been caramelized. This caramelization produces the unique flavor and color of brown stock.
|Ingredients||Weight (metric)||Weight (imperial)|
|Bones (Veal, Beef)||5 KG||10 lbs|
|Cold Water||14 L||3 gal|
|Mirepoix||1 KG||2 lb|
|Tomato Paste||250 mL||8 fl oz|
|Sachet: Bay Leaves, thyme, peppercorns, garlic cloves, parsley stems||1||1|
What You’ll Need
- Large Stock Pot
- Conical Strainer
- Cheese Cloth
- Roasting Pan
- Chef Knife
- Prep Bowls (Mise en place)
The Bones for Beef Stock
Beef stock is commonly referred to as brown stock, due to the beef/veal bones having excellent robust flavor when roasted. Just as chicken stock is the most common white stock, beef stock is the most common brown stock. While you can make brown stock out of roasted chicken or turkey bones, you will not get as much of the sought-after gelatinization that beef/veal bones produce as well as the unique flavor profile that beef stock brings.
Beef or Veal for Your Stock?
Choosing between beef and veal often comes down to availability and cost. Veal bones are the superior choice (Specifically the knuckle and shank bones) due to a large amount of collagen, which produces the gelatin. Veal stock also tastes much better and it is almost unanimous opinion of professional industry chefs that veal stock is the superior choice. Regular beef bones are acceptable, and still, produce a good stock if you do not want to use veal for ethical reasons. Experiment with each and find which ones produce the superior quality stock.
The type of bones you’re looking for are knuckle and shank. Ideally, the bones should have a bit of meat attached to them so it can caramelize nicely. The bones should be cut to expose the marrow and help reduce cooking times. Throwing in whole bones will not produce a very good stock!
Many butches carry an abundance of these types of bones and sell them cheaply as soup or dog bones. Your best bet is a butcher, as many groceries do not carry the proper bones. Remember, while marrow does add flavor, it’s the collagen and pieces of meat attached to the bone that produces the majority of gelatin and flavor, respectively.
Directions for Making Beef Stock
- The first thing we’re going to do, if you haven’t already, is cut the bones to an appropriate size, about the size of grapefruit. We want to ensure they fit into the stock pot nicely. Once cut, you should always give them a quick wash under cold water. This will help remove dirt or other particles that could cloud the beef stock.
- Next, prepare your mirepoix. Because the beef stock is going to simmer 8-12 hours, we want to leave the mirepoix relatively big, so a large dice will suffice here. Set them aside.
- Once the bones are prepped and ready, you’ll want to place them into a roasting pan and in the oven at 375F.
- Roast the bones, turning often to ensure even browning. You’ll know the bones are done when they are a dark, deep golden color. The ideal stage is just before the meat on the bones burn, so being attentive is important not to miss this stage!
- When the bones are done, you’ll want to remove the bones and place them directly into the stock pot.
- Take your roasting pan and drain off the fat, leaving enough to roast your mirepoix in. Place your mirepoix into the roasting pan and either put it back into the oven to roast or saute them in the roasting pan on the stove top. Be sure your roasting pan is capable of stovetop cooking.
- Saute/roast the mirepoix until caramelized and golden. Add your tomato paste to the roasting pan and sweat it for 2 minutes. Deglaze the roasting pan with a portion of the water to combine the caramelized pan drippings and the tomato paste.
- With your bones in the stock pot, it’s time to add the appropriate amount of water. In this case, we want to add 14L of water. Remember to adjust your recipe if you’re making more or less stock. You want the water to cover the bones completely. If this goes above what your recipe calls for, it’s not a big deal as we can reduce the stock to the appropriate level once completed. Add your roasted mirepoix and pan drippings to the stock pot.
- Set the burner temperature to the max, as you want to bring the temperature up to a simmer as quickly as possible. Always keep an eye on the stock! (You never want to boil a beef stock, as it will cloud the stock and impurities/scum will be much harder to remove causing off flavor. Never cover the beef stock with a lid either).
- While it is coming up to temperature, prepare your sachet by placing the sachet ingredients into a coffee filter or cheesecloth and tying it off with butchers twine, leaving a long enough string to tie off onto the handle for easy removal.
- Once the stock has come to a simmer, scum will start to appear on the surface of the stock in the form of a foam. Remove this as it appears. A good technique when it comes to scum is to allow the bones to simmer a while before adding your mirepoix, so it doesn’t interfere with the removal of the scum.
- Once the scum has been removed and no more is forming, place your sachet into the stock pot and let simmer for 8-12 hours. Never stir your stock! Stirring can cause cloudiness and cause off flavor. Leave it be, it will do its magic!
Finishing The Stock
- Once the stock has cooked for an appropriate amount of time, it’s time to strain off the mirepoix, impurities and bones from the beef stock. If the stock pot is too heavy to pour, use a ladle or small pot to carefully remove the stock and pour it through a conical strainer.
- Beef bones can be saved and reused in what’s called a remouillage. After removal, the bones are added to a new stock pot, with fresh mirepoix and sachet and simmered 3-4 hours to form a lighter stock. This stock is then used as a replacement for water during your next preparation of beef stock. It produces much more enhance flavor but takes much more time and effort.
- Once the mirepoix, sachet, and bones have been removed and you’re left with a straight liquid, it doesn’t hurt to pass through a fine etamine or strainer. This will produce a clearer stock and help remove more impurities.
Once you’re satisfied with the stock, it’s time to cool it properly. Using a water bath, a cooling wand or portioning it into smaller containers, cool it down as quickly as possible and then place in your fridge or freezer for storage.
There you have it! If you have any questions, have no hesitation to send an email or post a comment.