Updated: Jan 29, 2020
When the leaves and temperatures start to fall, that is the time of year that I start thinking about my homemade stock. I enjoy making chicken and beef stock, in particular. This blog will focus on beef stock. I like to buy beef shanks with all of their delicious marrow. I put the shanks in the oven at 450 degrees for approximately half an hour to brown the meat and create that delicious fond that I scrape up with boiling water once I transfer the meat to the stock pot. In concert with browning my meat, I also have my vegetables in the oven to roast for better flavor. I typically use carrots, parsnips, onions, turnips; however, you can incorporate whatever root vegetables you prefer. Once everything is roasted in the oven, I transfer it to the stock pot and fill to the gill with water. I then add a bouquet garni which is a fancy way of saying a grouping of your favorite herbs. Last, I always add a handful of black peppercorns and star anise. Now, it is time to grab a glass of wine and let it work its magic. I like to let the stock develop flavors for at least six hours, while periodically stirring all that goodness around in the pot.
Next, is the critical safety and success point - cooling it down and storing it. Once removed from the stove top, the stock pot needs to be put in ice water and brought down to 70 degrees within 2 hours. Then, the stock needs to be brought down to 40 degrees within the next 4 hours. At this point, refrigerate the stock overnight so that the fat congeals on the surface. In the morning, remove the layer of fat, strain the stock and discard all of the solids. Next, safely transfer the stock to your containers to freeze. I personally find 32 ounce deli containers marked with the date that I made it to be the easiest.
Last, enjoy your fabulous stock of stock with your soup creations. There is nothing better on a cold wintry day!