Monday, April 5, 2010

Cooking Grass-Fed Beef: Episode 5 – Homemade Beef Stock (There's Nothing Funny About It)

This video recipe for Homemade Beef Stock is the fifth in a series of videos I'm doing with grass-fed beef from Steve Normanton, focusing on how to cook the various cuts.

Normally when I get my package from Steve, I look to see what I have to work with and then decide what recipe would best show off the meat. This time I had no such decisions to make. When I saw this beautiful box of bones I knew there was only one option – a classic beef stock.

You know I like my cartons of ready-to-use stocks and broths. For the busy home cook they offer an easy way to have an array of cooking liquids on hand, which significantly expands anyone's recipe repertoire. Those recipes that say "add 3 cups of beef broth, or water," don't really mean that.

But when beef bones are available, making your own is a great idea. Not only will you be thrilled with the flavor of homemade stock, but you'll save a ton over those handy, but expensive cartons.

One statistical oddity to share – after watching this video I realized there wasn't one humorous moment in the entire thing. No bad puns, no pithy observations, no obscure references, no intentionally mispronounced words, nothing.

How ironic that the day I learn we've won Saveur Magazine's 1st Annual Best Food Blog Award for Most Innovative Video Content, I post this culinary cure for insomnia. Now that's funny! Enjoy.




Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, cut in 8ths
2 large carrots, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
5 pounds beef marrow bones
2 teaspoon tomato paste
8 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
5 quarts cold water

34 comments:

Asian Malaysian said...

Its never the price of the ingredients. Its the 8-12 hours of simmering like the sorcerere's apprentice with the whole house expecting that your creating a feast only to be dumbstruck when you pack away the stuff in the deep freeze at the end of the day.

Peter Li said...

What a coincidence...I was in the middle of making my first batch of beef stock when I stumbled across this entry :)

What do you do with all the scraps after the stock is made? Seems like such a waste to throw out.

Jack Parker said...

Making stock makes me happy. Odd, but true. Homemade stock is so comforting and tells people that you really care about what you're cooking for them. I would love to know how you make chicken stock, Chef. Do you use a chicken carcass (I hate that word) in place of the beef bones?

I was really surprised to see tomato paste as an ingredient. I never would have thought to use it. Is it a common ingredient for beef stock?

Chef John said...

peter, you can suck the marrow out, but there is nothing edible left.

jack, yes, a little tomato (mostly for a touch of acid) is a common addition.

rosemary said...

Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on Saveur Magazine Award. Made Clifton wings mmmmmmm, and gumbo with okra, yum! Even I was amazed by me! You have taken me to great heights and it makes me so happy!

I also made Rachael Ray and Trisha Yearwood's German chocolate cake, came out very well. I am only telling you this because I know you are a big Rachael Ray fan too!

genelle said...

Chef John what is the reason for browning in oven? Can't i just simmer all that like i do the chicken stock?

matt said...

This is great! Thanks Chef. Can you use this wherever you would use beef broth if you have it around? Congrats on the food blog award. I voted!

Anonymous said...

Is veal stock made the same way?

Chef John said...

yes, all stocks are made this way, sometimes the bones are roasted for a darker color and deeper flavor, sometimes they are not, if a lighter stock is wanted. this can be used in any recipes I use beef broth.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

A lovely beef stock, and exactly what I'd expect from AN AWARD-WINNING FOOD VIDEO GUY!

Can I make one persnickety suggestion? (I hear you saying yes ...) If you roast the bones and mirepoix in a roasting pan (add the vegetables partway through if you want the bones to roast longer than the vegetables), you can make the stock right in the pan, thus preserving all the juices and the lovely little brown bits that stick to the bottom. And less to clean -- always a plus.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm. I have a bunch of bones in the freezer that need to give up their nummy flavor this way.

Do you have any experience with making stock in a pressure cooker? I've never tried beef stock, but I've taken to doing my chicken stock in a pressure cooker. It's done in two hours including straining and packing away. I think it may be a little cloudier than the traditional method, but for the time it saves I can live with that.

Chef John said...

Thanks T! I like half your suggestions (well, technically 1/3). I want the vegetables to be very well browned, the darker the better for me, so I always cook them the same as the bones. But I agree that if someone has a nice deep roasting pan, you can deglaze and and add the liquid to the pot. I'd transfer to a stock pot though, since the liquid will evaporate faster in a wide pan, and you have to be careful the bones are covered and your levels down go down.

P.S. You've inspired me to start a much delayed interface redesign!

Chef John said...

Anon, DO NOT use a pressure cooker for stick. it has to cook a very low temp to be right, not higher like in a PC.

Kona Boy said...

Chef: Congrat's on the Saveur award, I guess my vote put you over the top. If one was to reduce this lovely stock for several days would you then have DEMIGLAZE?

Chef John said...

days? you could boil this down by half (demi means half I think) in an hour, but real demiglace is made with veal stock which has much more collagen and makes a better glace.

Eric said...

Congratulations on the award John. Never a doubt in my mind.
I have a freezer full of corn fed venison and I'm looking at your instructions for lean grass fed beef thinking these procedures would be great for venison. Anything I should know about or is there a connection here?
Eric

Chef John said...

yes it would! thanks

Chris K. said...

Actually pressure cookers are a great way to make stock. I do it all the time. Higher pressure = lower boiling point (temperature).

The guys at Cooking Issues wrote up a couple of nice, thorough blog posts about it.

Chef John said...

are u sure? of course i don't own one so maybe

Asian Malaysian said...

Hi Chris K. Could I have a link to that blog? Ive considered pressure cookers for stock before because the time on the stove drive me nuts. My only issue is that to get the pressure up in the first place, you need to bring the stock to a rolling boil which I understand to be like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters. Only worse.

iamronel said...

nice to know about this dish thanks a lot :)

Asian Malaysian said...

Found the link:
http://cookingissues.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/

Arggh!Now, I'll have to reconsider this again. Chef John, please use your Cheffy powers and contacts to resolve this issue with your final culinary decree. If a good clear stock of equal or better quality can be obtained from a pressure cooker in 7-11 hours less time than in a conventional stock pot, it certainly sounds like a worthy investment for that purpose alone.

Mike said...

Are you able to make chicken stock the same way?

Chef John said...

yes!

Chris K. said...

Yeah... totally got that reversed on the physics of pressure cooking. Sorry about that!

Higher pressure = higher boiling point. So when you prepare stock in a pressure cooker on "low" heat, you're actually cooking at a higher temperature without boiling the product. Furthermore, since it's a sealed vessel, you lose less liquid volume.

You also have the advantage of using less heat energy over time, so it's economical too.

Asian Malaysian said...

Hi Chris K, Isnt steam the pressure in a pressure cooker. Doesnt that you mean you have to initially bring it to the boil to build up the pressure before reducing the temperature? Almost all the cookbooks Ive read seem quite adamant that you should never bring a stock to a boil.

Chris K. said...

Hey AM,

No need to boil anything. After skimming your stock, close the lid and allow the pressure cooker to seal. Then lower the heat and wait for 40-60 minutes.

At no point should there be lots of steam shooting out of the valve - that indicates boiling, which is bad. A little bit of steam escaping every now & then is OK.

Always remember to fill the pressure cooker no more than 2/3 full - otherwise it won't achieve adequate pressure.

Asian Malaysian said...

Thanks, Chris. Looks like I'll have to start hunting for a pressure cooker.

Eric said...

I use a pressure cooker frequently and it has it's place. The best use of this tool is for tough meats that require long cooking to make them tender. A corned beef takes 50 minutes, pork butt is shred-able in 1 hour. Lemon chicken in 20 minutes and so on.

Chef is correct however that stocks made with a PC are cloudy. The liquid IS boiling, at a higher temperature than 212F. That's what the rocking steam weight is doing on top of the pot.

Do your self a big favor and try Chef John's braised ox tails or any braised dish here. Learning to braise properly will make you famous. Thanks Chef!

steve said...

Instead of tomato paste a mini can of V8 works great with the duration of cooking.

Food Junkie said...

I have a found a slow cooker to be a great way to do the long simmer needed for stocks. If you want to reduce you will have transfer to the stovetop after.

Twfme57 said...

Chef, can I make stock if I only have a little over one pound of bones or should I wait till I've gathered more (or buy more)? Trying to clean out my freezer!
Thanks !

Chef John said...

i would wait, or just add to one soup recipe.

alvin sentosa said...

hey Chef,
i was wondering how rich would this stock be?
if i was to make a beef soup, i was thinking oxtail, how much water/beef stock ratio would i use? or should i just use no water and only beef stock?