How to Make Beef Stock or Broth
Stock Cubes are No Substitute for Homemade Stock
What do you tend to do when a recipe calls for beef stock or broth? Simply add a little cube to a jug and top it up with hot water? Crumble that same little cube straight in to the pot or dish? Sadly, that is probably what a majority of people do but the benefits of making your own beef stock are more than worth the minimal effort required. Yes, making beef stock or broth takes a bit of time but most of that time it is left simply simmering away to its own devices, allowing you to get on with other tasks.
Hopefully, this page can convince you how easy it is to make homemade beef stock and you will give it a try for yourself.
The Essential Tool for the Job - A Stock Pot - Do you have a pot big enough for making stock?
There is no getting away from the fact that in order to make stock or broth effectively, you will require a fairly large pot. These pots can last for years, if not in fact a lifetime, when you buy one of the proper quality so a modest investment is likely to repay you many times over.
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Beef Bones are needed for Stock or Broth
Beef bones are absolutely essential for making beef broth or stock. It is the bones rather than the meat which they may still have attached to them that imparts the ful beefl flavours to the stock or broth. In the case of stock, it is also the bones that will give it its gelatinous quality when cooked. Beef bones like these are not expensive to buy and can be had from almost any butcher's or supermarket. If they are not on display, ask your butcher or supermarket assistant if they can provide you with some.
Beef Stock Ingredients and Starting to Make the Stock
There is no hard and fast list of ingredients used for making any form of stock. The only real essentials listed below are the beef bones and the water. The choice of herb and vegetables is open to experimentation but this precise recipe is easy, inexpensive and does produce a very satisfying beef broth or stock.
2lb beef bones
1 medium white onion
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
6 pints cold water
Put the beef bones in the stock pot. Peel and quarter the onion. Wash the carrot and celery and roughly chop. Add all the vegetables to the stock pot. Break up the sprigs of herbs roughly and add to the pot. Season with the black peppercorns and sea salt and pour in the cold water.
Put the pot on a high heat until the water begins to boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a moderate simmer for one and a half to two hours when making broth, or for several hours until more than half the water has evaporated if making stock.
Removing the Solids from the Beef Broth or Stock
When the broth has simmered for a couple of hours or the stock for several, switch off the heat. Use a large slotted spoon to lift the bones to a large plate. If there is any meat on them which you wish to utilise, cover them and leave them to cool. The same slotted spoon should then be used to remove the herb and vegetable pieces from the pot, which may be immediately discarded.
Don't worry about stray bits of herb or peppercorns remaining in the broth. You are going to strain it later. For now, put the lid on the pot and leave it for at least an hour to cool substantially.
Straining the Beef Broth or Stock
When your broth or stock has cooled to warm rather than hot, it is time to strain it and remove the remaining impurities from the liquid, such as peppercorns and bits of rosemary or thyme.
Suspend a fairly fine sieve over a large bowl or basin. Line it with three or four sheets of kitchen paper, which will filter out the fat from your broth. Pour just a little broth in to the sieve in the first instance and this will help to prevent splashing as you pour more steadily. Pour the broth in to the sieve in steady stages until it is all filtered.
Easy Beef and Root Vegetable Soup
Who doesn't love a good bowl of soup, of one description or another? It is said to make us feel better when we are unwell, it is probably the most popular of all starters or appetizers and what better to heat us up on a cold Winter's night than a bowl of hale and hearty soup?
The one thing that almost all good soups have in common is that they begin with a quality stock. Be it beef stock as in this instance, chicken stock, or even vegetable stock, only by having that initial grounding from which to build are you ever likely to have a quality soup to enjoy and serve to your family.
The simple beef and root vegetable soup recipe featured below, incorporating the beef stock prepared above, is about as basic as soup recipes get. It is designed, however, simply to get you thinking of different ways in which you can use quality homemade beef stock.
2 to 3 pints of beef stock, prepared as above
2 medium to large carrots
8 to 10 baby new potatoes
Beef from bones used to make stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh chives to garnish
Pour the beef stock in to your soup or stew pot. Wash the potatoes but do not peel them. Any larger ones should be halved but smaller ones left whole. Top, tail and scrape the carrots. Grate one carrot coarsely and slice the other in to discs. Add the potatoes and carrots to the beef stock and season.
Put the mix on a high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for thirty minutes.
Pull any remaining meat and gristle from the stock bones. It should virtually fall off at a touch. Cut and pull the beef from the fat and gristle. Add it to the soup for the last five minutes of simmering, merely to heat through.
Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust as required. Ladle it in to serving bowls and garnish with freshly chopped chives, or other herb of choice.
I hope this page has proven useful to you and that you will try making your own beef broth or stock. The difference in taste between the real thing and those little stock cubes really is beyond night and day...
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