Is there anything more comforting than a pot of stock simmering on the stove? With all the cooking going on around here over the holidays, I have a fridge chock full of leftover veggies, bones and carcasses waiting patiently for their turn in the stockpot. And with a day of toodling around the house, it was the perfect day to get started on refilling the freezers with homemade stock – from beef to chicken to fish. I wanted to start off with beef stock so headed to the local butcher to pick up some of their inexpensive healthy grass-fed beef marrow bones – total for about 8 pounds – $7.00. (There is something so personally satisfying to be able to turn inexpensive and leftover ingredients into a rich flavorful stock- magical!)
Homemade stock is a far cry from what you find on the grocery store shelves and once you get into the habit of saving chicken, beef, and even fish bones, making stock is an easy breezy exercise that just requires a bit of time. And the rewards are so worth the minimal effort!! Roasting the bones and veggies first add incredible yummy depth to the flavor.
There has been a lot of good press recently about the healthy, healing properties of something called ‘bone broth’. This stuff is AWESOME – its healthy nutritious minerals and amino acids heal your gut, pulls out all those holiday toxins, makes your joints happy and so much more. Now you might ask, I thought you said you were making stock – not bone broth? You are correct. All ‘bone broth’ is is stock on steroids – you allow it to simmer for 24 hours or longer to pull out all the killer nutrients from the bones. Adding a bit of vinegar to the stockpot helps to pull out the minerals from the bones (or so they say so I toss in a few tablespoons). So if you have the time, take your stock one step farther and pull out all those body-loving nutrients into a yummy bone broth. (I sip bone broth throughout the week as a mid-day treat.)
So as the new year approaches, a toast to your health – Salute!
Homemade Roasted Beef Stock
- Several pounds beef marrow bones (grass-fed if possible)
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
- 3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
- 2 large onions, peeled and cut in half
- 1 head garlic, outer skin loosely peeled and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 large or 3 small bay leaves
- 10 (or so) parsley stems
- 10 (or so) whole peppercorns
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse marrow bones and dry. Place in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. Throw in the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Continue to roast until the veggies are browned, tossing occasionally, about another 20-30 minutes.
- Toss everything into a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover everything by about 2 inches. Pour off any fat from the roasting pan and then add a bit of water and simmer over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Toss into the stockpot. Add in the vinegar, bay leaves, parsley stems and peppercorns.
- Bring stock to just under a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for at least 4 hours. To make bone broth, allow it to simmer for 24 hours or longer. Occasionally skim fat and foam off the top and discard. C0ver loosely. Add water as needed to keep everything covered.
- Strain stock when finished. Squish the solids in the strainer to get out any remaining juicy stock from the veggies. If using right away, skim off any fat. If time permits, place in refrigerator overnight to allow fat to rise to the top and solidify (this makes it much easier to de-fat!). Next day, remove the solid fat from the top and you are ready to go!