By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Mark_Hewitt]Mark Hewitt
The art of making stock is a very underrated and marginalised kitchen skill, but it's the key to some truly wonderful cooking, it's not at all hard, and it's an incredibly studly thing to be able to make. I've already written about how to make a vegetable stock. Now let's talk about meat - and how to make beef stock.
Enough beef bones to fill your stockpot to the top (ask your butcher to break them up a bit if they're too big. I usually get them to fit as they are and I always forget to check before I get them home!)
4 carrots (all about 6-8 inches long), peeled and with the top and bottom cut off
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
About 4 stalks of celery, washed and roughly chopped
12 black peppercorns
A couple of tablespoons of tomato paste - not essential but it all helps boost the flavour
You have a choice here - for a brown stock, first roast the bones in the oven. Do it at a moderate heat and turn them a few times - don't burn them black anywhere or they'll add a bitter taste. If you do slip up just scrape off the black bits. Also sautee the veggies as above. For a white stock just wash everything and put it in the pot. The only real advantage of a white stock is appearance and, some say, a clearer, cleaner taste (honestly my palate isn't up to telling the difference), so for most people's purposes a brown stock is better - it has a richer, sweeter and more powerful flavour.
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, add enough water to cover (if you've used plenty of bones that should be pretty much up to the rim), and simmer on a low low heat, just as with the veg stock - just the odd bubble rising. This is even more important with bones in there, as fast boiling will leach out bitter tasting chemicals. For the first hour or so you'll want to skim the surface occasionally as a grey scum and a layer of fat will accumulate there which will affect the flavour a bit. Beef stock needs about 7-8 hours simmering before you strain and reduce it. Again, it should make about an ice cube tray and a half of very rich stock to freeze. Again, don't add salt until it's fully reduced, if you add any at all.
Beef stock is a bit more limited than veggie - it's pretty powerfully beefy, so it should only go with things that are complemented by that flavour. Obviously beef stews, pies, etc. are ideal to gain from this stock, but some sauces (a chinese soy-sauce-based sauce for example) benefit surprisingly well from it. Or you can just melt one or two cubes in boiling water and voila! A simple consomme. All French and professional etc. Just tune up the flavour with salt until the beefiness leaps out at you - it'll taste a little bland until you get the salt just right. Just don't overshoot and end up with something like beefy seawater.
See also my original post: target=_new [http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Make-Stock-(And-Why)---A-Seriously-Studly-Kitchen-Skill&id=932155]How to Make Stock (And Why) - A Seriously Studly Kitchen Skill
Mark Hewitt is an English foodie, cook, philosopher, geek, shaman and writer. At the start of 2007 he sold or gave away almost all his possessions and left on a backpacking journey round the world, the purpose being (at least in part) to figure out why he would want to do such a thing. You can follow his journey and find other articles at: http://www.scadindustries.com/sael/journal.html
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