Weeknights with Jenny

Beef Stock

November 29, 2010 • 12 Comments

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Meat Stock

- Jenny

Two significant changes to my dinner time –- the difference in local foodstuffs here compared with Los Angeles and my much-later arrival home each night –- have given me clarity about some new habits I need to embrace, stat.

First of all, one needs a well-stocked larder. Every manner of bean, noodle, spice, paste, sauce and other staple must be on hand at all times, so there can be improvisation on the fly. Will I let a vote on the Dream Act stand in the way of a well-cooked meal? No I won’t! Rice noodles and fish sauce are at the ready, pad thai here I come!

What’s more, this is why our grannies turned to canning and freezing –- they didn’t have Mexican tomatoes to turn to, and we all know that really, neither should we. (This is not a food lecture. If you want asparagus in December, I can’t judge you. Scratch your culinary itch, and do the canning redux thing too –- it’s a free country!)

So anyway, to that end, one also needs a freezer full of goodies, from meatballs to stews to stocks stored in 1-cup portions, which can turn “Pasta again?!” into a rich and satisfying affair. While I am usually pretty good at keeping chicken stock on hand, I tend to come up short on a beef version. This bothered me greatly –- a deck of cards with no king.

And so it was that I turned to Meat Stock. That might have been all she wrote, friends, but it wasn’t quite. I want you to be able to make this during the week, and unless you have several hours to give up during the work day (or you’re doing the old “Actually, (supervisor, partner, random office crazy person) I’m in a meeting, where else would I be? No, that is not a leaf blower -- I’m insulted you’d suggest that!”) you are going to need a stock that works for you.

Thus, I have tweaked, and used the crock pot to make it come together.

First, I went to the market and got the marrow bones that gluttonforlife calls for. A guy behind me in line at the butcher stand started giving me some tips, all of which I used to tweak this recipe for the weeknight cook.

I roasted them at a lower temperature for an hour then rubbed them with tomato paste, and roasted them another 90 minutes longer. From here, one could easily go on and continue the recipe, if you are the sort of normal person who sleeps with the crock pot on. I am not, so I put those nicely roasted bones in the fridge until the next morning. (Unlike the author, I did not involve cubed meat. You can of course and the result will no doubt be a richer stock, as she indicates.)

In the morning, I tossed the bones, as well as the onion, carrots, celery stalks, garlic cloves, bay leaves and a bunch of thyme and Italian parsley into my slow cooker. I skipped the leeks, as I had none on hand, and the black peppercorns. I covered it all with water, turned it high for 30 minutes while I got ready for work, then to low, where I left it as I toiled away all day, pretending to be greatly interested in my work tasks as I dreamed of wafts of beef steam at home.

When I got home, once I had cooled and strained my concoction, I had five cups of really good, really rich and aromatic stock. In a few weeks, over time, that will lead to other moments of deliciousness, which I will share with you all. I am posting both recipes here, because I think they suit different needs and because mine would be nowhere without glutton’s. Enjoy either one.

Jenny's Modified Meat Stock

Makes 6 cups

  • 2 to 3 pounds beef marrow bones
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse the bones with cold water and pat dry. Place the bones in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Roast for about an hour.

2. Remove bones from oven, rub with tomato paste, then roast another hour. (At this point I put the bones in the fridge and went to bed. You can do this or proceed to step 3.)

3. Place the bones, vegetables and herbs in your crock pot, with just enough water to cover them totally. Turn pot to high for 30 to 60 minutes, then turn to low and leave it alone for the rest of the day (7 hrs).

4. Strain broth through fine strainer, and let cool completely before placing it in the refrigerater overnight.

5. The next day, remove and discard fat. Transfer to Ziplock freezer bags (I do one cup bags) and freeze until needed.

Meat Stock

By gluttonforlife

Makes 6 cups

  • 2.5 pounds beef marrow bones
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2.5 pounds organic beef stew meat, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the bones with cold water and pat dry. Place the vegetables in a single layer in a large roasting pan and add the bones on top. Roast, turning the bones a few times, until well browned; about 1 hour.

2. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large soup pot, discarding fat from the roasting pan. Deglaze the pan with a couple of cups of water over high heat, scraping up all the brown bits. Add this to the bones, along with the cubed meat, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Pour in cold water to cover the bones and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Do not stir. Add peppercorns, and continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 4 hours, skimming from time to time.

3. Strain stock and discard solids. Cool and then refrigerate overnight. The following day, remove and discard fat that has risen to the top, and discard any debris that has sunk to the bottom. Salt before using or, if planning to reduce, wait to add salt until later. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, or divided into smaller quantities and frozen for future use, up to 6 months.

By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.

Jennifer Steinhauer
Jump to Comments (12)

Tags: everyday cooking

Comments (12)

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almost 4 years ago bonoca

Jenny,

The late great food writer Laurie Colwin extolled the virtues of the lowly flame tamer. You simply stick it under a pot and can leave the house with no fear.

http://www.amazon.com/SIMMER...

I've always used one and haven't burned the house down yet...try it, you'll like it!

Newliztoqueicon-2

almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

beef stock haiku: red blood marrow bones/ butcher so cute and red-faced/ making jenny's stock.

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almost 4 years ago sfmiller

For those wary of leaving simmering pots on the stove for many hours, try using a pressure cooker to reduce the total stovetop time to a bit over 1 hr. Lid up after the initial skimming, bring to pressure, and let go for 50-60 mins. Saves time and fuel, and the results are comparable to open-pot stock.

Works for chicken stock, too; cook under pressure for 20 mins, after initial skimming.

_mg_0362

almost 4 years ago Jestei

Fantastic advice thanks for posting this

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almost 4 years ago TiggyBee

Jenny, I'm trying to decide which I like best. Your writing or your writing. I'm going with your writing. You're one cool person.

_mg_0362

almost 4 years ago Jestei

aw you're so nice tiggbee can't WAIT to make your puddings!!!

Hib_kitchen

almost 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

My brother worked the line in a Paris 3 star restaurant for a few years and he told me that they would leave the stock pots on the stove on the lowest setting over night. When the morning shift comes in, they strain and refridge. I have to admit that I now do this, but I do not tell my mother. Never had any problems, though.

_mg_0362

almost 4 years ago Jestei

yes the guy at the market told me he does the same. and then his wife punched his arm.

Ls

almost 4 years ago gluttonforlife

I regularly leave my stove and oven on very low for dozens of hours and have never had a problem. (I just knocked wood.) Maybe it's time for a pressure cooker? Although, is there something to be said for this sort of slow cooking? Any thoughts?

Hib_kitchen

almost 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

I was actually have thought about getting a pressure cooker for a lot of reasons, but like the idea of doing stock quickly with the pressure cooker and like the idea of doing it while I sleep. Depends on my schedule and what I want out of my stock. I am one of those dorks that saves all my veggie scraps in a tupperware container in my fridge all for the stock that I make.

Newliztoqueicon-2

almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

I have never made beef stock - always seemed too daunting. This seems quite do-able. Time to make friends with my butcher.

_mg_0362

almost 4 years ago Jestei

it is always good to make friends with a butcher.