While the northern hemisphere is bathing in the fire of a thousand suns, Winter in the southern hemisphere, specifically Sydney, feels like we are standing on the edge of the wall waiting for the white walkers. Now, I know many of you will scoff at that statement when you realise that we are only getting down to 6 or 7 degrees Celsius here of a morning, but for a country who prides itself on its glorious warm and sunny weather, the fact that we all have to wear proper winter coats in the morning is a little hard to deal with.
Food talk increases during this time as we regale anyone who will listen with tales of epic pies, slow cooked lamb shanks and legendary roasts. All of which usually share a similar ingredient that is running defense on the recipe – beef stock! Never one to bestow the mantle of lazy on anyone in this day and age given how the clock ticks for all of us, but if there is a brief moment on a weekend day where one has the time to pop things in the oven and then on the stove, and plans to be home for a few hours, then treat yo’ self to some homemade beef stock. Store it in the freezer in portions and improve your winter woes with the addition of a more flavourful stock than you can possibly purchase.
The beauty of beef stock is that knife skills and great care is not necessary nor appreciated in the final product, so grab yourself some beef bones, shallots, a few aromatics, some celery and carrot (basically everything in the above shot) and get to work.
My recipe calls for the roasting of the bones and vegetables first. This isn’t entirely necessary, but it is great when you have the extra time at home as you will notice a far richer and deeper flavour from roasted bones. You also want to make sure that you have your butcher give you bones with bone marrow as that will ensure flavour is at its maximum.
If you don’t have time or the inclination to roast the bones, you really can skip the step and just place all the ingredients in a pot, cover with water and get on with it. The trick to clear beef stock is to not stir the pot once you have the roasted bones in the water and on the hob – but never fear! If you are addicted to the wooden spoon and its stirring action, and you forget you aren’t meant to touch it, then I’ve also included the recipe for how to clarify your stock – or you can just enjoy it slightly cloudy as at home, it makes no difference.
This isn’t a sponsored post, but a big shout out goes to Scanpan who heard I was planning to make beef stock and sent me this 7.2L Axis Scanpan Stockpot to play with (feel free to read the disclaimer at the end of this post).
Homemade Beef Stock and How to Clarify Stock
- 1.7kg beef marrow bones
- 300g beef short ribs, cut into individual chunks
- 1 bunch dutch carrots, halved (tops retained but cut)
- 4 celery stalks, cut in 3cm sections
- 5-6 medium shallots, peeled with tops and bottoms removed
- 1 head garlic, sliced in half
- 1/2 bunch continental parsley stems
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 230° Celsius (450° Fahrenheit). Place the bones in a large baking dish and roast for 30 minutes tossing occasionally. After 30 minutes, add the carrot halves, celery, shallots and garlic and roast for another 30 minutes tossing occasionally.
Transfer the roasted bones and vegetables to a large 7.2L stockpot and add carrot tops, parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns, then cover with water till it reaches the 7L line (or until everything is covered). Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours without stirring. Top up with water as necessary over this time. If the foam rises to the top during the simmering, gently skim the foam from the top of the pot.
After 4 hours, remove the large bones and vegetables gently with tongs (use the leftover marrow, meat from the beef short rib and carrots as a pie filling). Line a sieve with two layers of cheesecloth and pour the stock through into another large pot. Set aside and cool to room temperature, then transfer to smaller containers for individual dish sizes and freeze for up to three months.
*NB: You can skip roasting the bones and vegetables if you are short on time, but note that the stock won't be as rich.
HOW TO CLARIFY STOCK
If you have been impatient while making beef or chicken stock and stirred it while simmering, your stock will come out cloudy. Now, you don't really need to clarify your stock as the cloudiness is really only aesthetic, but if you would like a clearer stock, then the answer is eggs.
After you have strained the stock, clean the stockpot and pour the liquid back in. Whip two egg whites to soft peaks then stir into the stock and bring the stock to a rolling boil. Turn the heat off and let the stock cool. Strain the liquid again through two layers of cheesecloth.
Chew Town was not paid to develop this recipe, but was gifted the Axis Stockpot from Scanpan, with thanks. If you would like to learn more about Scanpan visit the Australian website. To read Chew Town’s disclosure policy please visit the About page.