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Simple Beef Stock

Beef Stock

Beef Stock

When I wanted to make borscht recently I had to choose whether to use beef in the soup or not.  I’ve made it either way, and both have excellent flavors.  I did make borscht without beef or beef broth when daughter Emily was going through her vegetarian phase.  This time I wanted to use beef stock.

I asked my P.S. (Procurer of Soup bones/hubby) to bring home soup bones to make stock and he obligingly did.  I simply put them into a 9″x13″ pan in the oven at 425° F for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through roasting, then removed the bones from the pan and put them into a large soup pot. My mom didn’t make her own beef stock; that was purely my idea, wanting to be all chef-y.  I think a good pot of soup deserves the real broth, not cubes.

Beef Bones

Beef Bones

After I removed the caramelized bones, I put the pan onto the stove with 2 cups of water and deglazed the pan.  I loosened up the lovely caramelized bits with a spatula, then poured the juices into the soup pot. I added about a gallon of water and let it come to a boil over medium high heat, then turned it down to medium low and let it simmer for 5 hours. It gave the whole house a lovely smell.

Caramelized bones

Caramelized bones

I checked the water level every hour or so to make sure it wasn’t getting too low.  After 5 hours the water level had cooked down to about 3 quarts, a perfect amount for making my soup. I was feeling pleased with my beef stock making exercise; it was pretty easy!  I may do that more often!

Scraping the bits from the pan

Scraping the bits from the pan

I let the pot and its contents cool for about 30 minutes, then strained the bones and bits out of the stock. I put the stock into a large bowl and refrigerated it until morning. I also cleaned the bits of beef off of the bones and refrigerated that in a small container for another recipe. My borscht recipe would be meatless and the cup of shredded beef could be used in some way later.

Remove the beef from the bones and save for another use

Remove the beef from the bones and save for another use

I have to do a disclaimer and say I do realize that most chefs put onion and carrots and celery into their stocks to give it a full range of flavors.  I am usually putting those ingredients into my soup anyway, so I leave them out of the first step of just making the broth.  When I decide which vegetables I am going to use, I add them to my soup and they get to remain in the soup.   I just don’t like discarding vegetables.  It makes no sense to me to throw away the ingredients that are making the dish taste good.

Remove the hardened fat from the top and discard

Remove the hardened fat from the top and discard

The next day I removed and discarded the hardened fat from the top of my broth.  I put the broth back into a soup pot and I was ready to make soup!

Beef Stock

 2-3 lbs of beef soup bones (if you don’t find any in the meat cases, ask for them)

Place bones in a 9×13 metal pan and place in oven preheated to 425° F.  Roast for 40 minutes, turning bones halfway through roasting.

Remove pan from oven and place bones in a soup pot.

Add a cup or two of water to the baking pan and place it on a burner on medium heat for a few minutes.  Loosen the bottom bits and juices with a scraper or spatula.  When the bottom of the pan has been deglazed, pour the juices into the soup pot.

Add about a gallon of water to the pot and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 5 or 6 hours.  Set a timer to check the water level every hour.  You want to end up with about 3 quarts of stock.

Turn off heat and let stock cool for about 30 minutes.  Strain through a colander or cheesecloth.  Refrigerate broth for several hours or overnight to harden the fat before using the stock.

Remove any meat from the bones and store in a separate container.

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