The day before I made the big pot of Beef and Bean Chili, I cooked up a pot of Beef Stock for the first time. It turned out good, and to my surprise was very easy and very much worth the effort. Homemade beef bone stock is inexpensive to make, and when made right and with good quality ingredients, it is nourishing and has health benefits as it’s rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, gelatin which is good for your hair, nails, and joints, and glucosamine and chondroitin which is also beneficial for your joints. There is a good article here at Nourished Kitchen on the benefits and advantages to making your own bone stock.
When I asked the Chef that I work for now for some suggestions on making beef stock, he said roast the bones first, and that he wouldn’t use much for fresh herbs in it, especially if you’re making a lot of it and freezing it for later. Then if you go to use it later on it would be good to use for just about anything, from a Stir Fry to a big ol’ pot of Chili or Beef Stew, or some gravies and sauces. He also suggested simmering it down for a long time to a very concentrated stock would be helpful if you are making a ton and your freezer space is limited. Then when you go to use it, just add water to reconstitute it.
(There’s a little foam on there, you’re supposed to skim off the foam as it simmers, especially in the beginning. It’s kind of difficult to get an appealing photo of simmering beef stock indoors and at night!) =)
Well I kind of cheated and made up a quicker version. I didn’t roast the bones first, I didn’t add in vinegar (which helps the nutrients and minerals to leach out of the bones into the broth), and I didn’t let it simmer for 48 hours. I just threw my beef soup bones into my stock pot along with chopped yellow onion, garlic cloves, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and filled the pot with cold filtered water. I brought it to a boil in the evening, reduced it to a light simmer and let it go overnight. After it simmered for about 14 hours, I strained it the next day, set it in the fridge to cool completely, then took it out to remove the top layer of fat. Voila, a beautiful and flavorful soup stock!
It was really nice having a stock simmering overnight in the house too, made it feel really home-y. I woke up a couple times in the night to check on it and it felt kinda like there was really something special waiting for me in the morning, and the house smelled that way too!
I did get some soup bones with all the meat from the yearling we got in the freezer, but for this stock I just stopped in to the local meat processing shop and asked the butcher for some beef soup bones. The bones have the marrow in them, and the more knuckles the better since those will give you a very gelatinous stock. It’s so easy to use those soup bones from the butcher since there’s no preparation with them and they are very inexpensive!
It turned out great and made the Chili very yummy. Next time I’m going to try roasting the bones first, use a little vinegar in it, and let it go for about 24 hours. =)
…Our furry friend Jackson really appreciates that I grab a bag of the marrow bones to keep in the freezer for him too!