Back when I wanted to learn to make stock, it seemed complicated but once I made that first batch, I have not gone back to cans and cartons. Homemade stocks are not only easy but also very healthy for our bodies. There is a reason that chicken soup is the oldest remedy in the book for a common cold, provided that you make the stock from scratch. Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions, wrote a wonderful article extolling the virtues of stock or "bone broth" as the real food enthusiasts refer to it. Have a read here to learn more. Beef stock is high in CLA, conjugated linoleic acid which a powerhouse for our health. Read more about CLA here.
Best of all, I've read that bone broth is very good for the skin. I'm usually skeptical when it comes to beauty remedies unless I try them first hand. Since it's been soup weather here, I've been making up lots of stock and using it almost all of our suppers the past few weeks and let me tell you, my skin looks really good. Smooth, moist, supple and glowing. None of that change of season dryness that I always experience when we first start putting the heat on. Now if that isn't an endorsement to make broth, than I don't know what is!
I made a batch of beef stock the other day and used it for the base of two delicious dishes this weekend. Here's how I did it. I bought four pounds of grass-fed beef bones for about $7, they were already cut and packaged in the Whole Foods meat section. If they aren't available in the case, just ask the butcher.
I roasted them in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. Roasting the bones gives the stock a richer flavor.
While the bones were roasting, I filled a stock pot with a few carrots, some celery, a leek and some salt, herbs and spices and added purified water. I set it on the stove to start cooking.
I added the roasted bones and brought to a boil. I skimmed the scum that rises to the top. You only need to do that once. After that, it's smooth sailing. I reduced the pot to a simmer, covered it and let it go for 12 hours. I didn't watch it or anything. I went about my business all day.
Look how the color changed...
I strained out the solids, let the stock cool and then popped it in the fridge overnight.
All that delicious fat rises to the top and solidifies for easy skimming.
Don't throw that fat away, that is pure grass-fed beef tallow and it's full of deliciousness. You can use it like butter in cooking. I stored it in a mason jar in the fridge and used it along with the stock in my weekend cooking.
This is how homemade beef stock looks, full of collagen and minerals and best of all, wonderful flavor to add to lots of different dishes.
I made two dishes this weekend using both the beef fat and broth. Saturday night it was homemade onion soup. I caramelized a mountain of onions in the beef fat. Once they were deep golden brown and the pan had a dark brown fond on the bottom, I deglazed the pan with some dry Marsala wine, I scraped up all those brown bits. Then I added the beef stock and fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary and oregano) and let it simmer for about half an hour. I got two slices of sourdough bread, topped them with freshly shredded Gruyere cheese and toasted them in the oven until crusty, brown and bubbly. Into bowls and topped with the soup onion soup. Oh, so good!
Sunday dinner was pot roast. We devoured it after raking and bagging leaves all afternoon, I didn't get a chance to snap a pic but it was proclaimed to be the Best Pot Roast in the Universe. In my dutch oven, I browned a grass-fed chuck roast in the beef fat then moved it to a plate. I sauteed onions and garlic until tender then put the roast back in and then put in the beef stock, I added a blob of ketchup and glug of Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor. I put enough to come half way up the roast. I popped it into a 300 degree oven for 90 minutes. I then flipped the roast and added a bouquet garni, carrots, rutabaga, parsnips and baby gold potatoes and cooked for another hour. Then I added thick sliced portabello mushrooms and cooked for another 30 minutes. Everything was so tender and delicious. The pot roast gravy was heavenly. I have leftovers all ready to take to work tonight and tomorrow, can't wait!
Have you made homemade stock yet?