Beef Stock and Broth
Essential for authentic French Onion Soup
Introduction – Chicken – Pork – Beef
Ah, Beef Stock and Broth, if you can make this then you really know what you’re doing and now have an ingredient that usually you have to go to culinary school to learn. Some chefs will be very meticulous with how they prepare this and some a little more shoot from the hip, but either way, there are a couple of new techniques and steps to apply to the standard Stock and Broth methods. I first learned how to make Beef Stock and Broth solely because I wanted to make authentic French Onion Soup from scratch. Yes, this is a lot of work to go through just to make soup, but it is a soup that just doesn’t taste right if you take shortcuts.
Beef stock and broth are the most expensive and most complicated out of this trio to produce. The bones and the meat cost more, they just do, nothing we can do about that. The only consolation is that beef broth and stock have such a bolder flavor so with the end product it takes less to achieve the same flavor intensity as it does with pork, and by far with chicken.
Again, the method is exactly the same once everything is in the pot. The timeline is the same and the separation of stock and broth is the same.
What differs here is the lead-in and prep before the simmer/boil phases on the stove, but once you are in the pot and on the stove it follows, verbatim, the way that Pork stock and broth went.
Alright, Let’s Go!
Beef Stock and Broth
Beef Recipe and Prep for a full giant batch of stock and fortified broth:
12 lbs of beef shaft/marrow bones
10 lbs of beef feet/trotters
6 lbs of chicken feet (non-negotiable)
X lbs of chicken wings etc (optional)
2 Large (20 oz) cans of tomato paste
*Combining tender chicken wings, necks, and backbones with the beef bones will emulate the envied and legendary Veal Stock that the French mother sauce, Espagnole, is made from. Veal is very hard to find and very expensive. Combining Beef and Chicken is a very affordable way to achieve a similar end result. In general, you should also keep a bag of beef bones from leftovers throughout the year. I keep all my steak bones to have extra to add in my stock.
|Beef Feet chopped up||Chicken Feet-Essential to all 3 stocks.||Marrow Bones|
9 lbs of Beef neck bones
4.5 lbs of beef shanks, bone-in
4.5 lbs of budget cut beef like boneless top/bottom sirloin chops, London broil, or chuck steaks.
10 pounds Mirepoix divided into 2 sets of: 2.5lb onion, 1.25 lb carrot, 1.25 lb celery.
8-10 whole bulbs of Garlic, 4-5 per set of Mirepoix above.
2 large bunches each: Simon and Garfunkle (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme)
15-20 Bay Leaves
1 bottle of decent Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. ( deglaze as needed and drink the rest 😉
Salt, Pepper and Beef Base, and tomato paste to taste. Sometimes Garlic and Onion powder help boost the final flavor. These are all adjustments after you are to the reduction stage of the broth.
|Beef Neck Bones||Beef Shanks||Assorted Chuck Roast|
Here is what is different from Beef to Pork in this method.
Beef marrow bones should be roasted in the oven and then covered in tomato paste and roasted further. I have yet to find pork femur shaft/marrow bones in the market like I can find Beef bones. If I could find pork marrow bones I would roast them like this also but skip the tomato paste.
You want to lay out the beef marrow bones on a baking sheet and roast them at 425 for an hour and then coat the bones liberally in tomato paste and roast for another 45 minutes at 375. Every oven, just like the clutch on a car, is very different. You do not want to burn the meat or fat on the bones in the first stage and especially DO NOT burn the tomato paste in the second stage. Err on the side of cautious with how hot you roast at, after all, you are playing the long game, you’ve got time right?
You can either sauté the mirepoix in a skillet or you can roast it in the oven since you already have it running. Roasting the mirepoix for beef is the established standard. You can roast the mirepoix on its own sheet pan or you can roast it on the pan the bones were on after they moved to the pot with water. Roasting on the original pan will help with deglazing. Either way, you want to deglaze the roasting pan/sheet the bones and/or mirepoix were on with red wine and scrape off all the fond as best as you can. You do not need to use amazing wine for this, but if it is not good enough to put in a glass then it is not good enough to cook with. Enough said.
Any tomato paste you have leftover from the roasting process you should save and put in the fridge. Beef broth often needs tomato paste as an adjustment flavor at the end. Just keep it handy. I will buy the big jumbo #10 can of tomato paste from smart and final when I make this because it takes a lot. Whatever is leftover I will freeze. Much more economical than buying a dozen little mini cans.
If you are using chicken wings, necks, or backs in your stock I would roast them with the marrow bones and keep them with the trotters, chicken feet, and marrow bones in the boiling pot of stock the whole time. Whatever meat is on them will stay committed to the stock.
|Roasting Marrow Bones and Chicken wings etc|
|Coating with Tomato Paste to roast again|
|Finished Roasting||Deglaze liberally with red wine|
Concurrently, while you roast the beef bones and mirepoix, you want to set up a pot with the beef feet/trotters and the chicken feet and boil just like in the pork stock recipe.
|Chicken/Beef Feet and Meatless Bones||Bring to a boil with cover screen||Keep submerged with smaller screen|
Once you have roasted the bones, coated them with tomato paste, and roasted them again you want to move them to their own pot and cover with water. Bring this pot up to a boil.
Once the pot comes to a boil with the roasted bones and you have finished the sear on the meat for the broth you can remove the marrow bones from their pot and drop them into the pot with the trotters and chicken feet. If your pot is not big enough then split the contents across two pots and top off with water accordingly. Starting two half-full pots of trotters and chicken feet that leaves room to drop in the marrow bones is advisable.
The pot of water that the marrow bones were in is now your starting water for the broth process. This is not a traditional step, but washing the roasted bits and tomato sauce off of the bones allows us to keep those delicate flavors intact while simmering with the broth rather than boiling them into oblivion with the stock.
The traditional French method simmers all meat and bones together, never boils, but also doesn’t yield nearly as much gelatin and collagen. I feel this is an improved method to keep all the roasted flavors intact in the broth, but get maximum breakdown on the bones and joints.
Just as with pork, you will sear half the recipe worth of neckbones and chops/budget meat for a single broth or split the full recipe into half and half in order to create a fortified broth. If you are making a fortified broth then put all of your meat containing bones into the first round of searing and simmering so they are on time to add to the boiling pot. This means that you should separate the marrow bones from the beef shank cuts and toss that in with the oven-roasted bones. The meat of the beef shanks will be seared separate from the bones.
The beef process almost starts as a fortified broth because the water that housed the roasted bones with tomato paste for an hour or so becomes our starting water for the broth. If we were to rolling boil the water the bones and tomato paste were first in according to the stock method we would annihilate the nuances of roasted flavor. Washing these bones into a pre-broth and then committing them to the boiling pot is the best way to go.
Once you have seared the first half of beef neckbones, shank steaks, and any other cuts you chose then you will deglaze with the first round of mirepoix. Build your pot and use the pre-broth from the bones to simmer for 24 hours like before. Wash at 24 hours and then reset for the second wash and simmer until 48 hours. Reset and discard all solids and merge first and second wash like before at 48 hours. Separate any bones from the broth in the 24-48 hour mark and add to the boiling pots.
Repeat the whole sear and deglaze process as we did with pork at 48 hours with fresh meat and mirepoix for fortified broth. Second stage meat should be boneless so that all bones can be committed to the boiling pot by or before the 48-hour mark. Herbs should be added in the last simmer stage of the process.
|Searing Beef Necks and Shanks|
|Roast your Mirepoix||or||Sauté|
|Simmer your broth for 24 hrs and reset to simmer||again and strain. Repeat last 48 hr steps to fortify||Fortified Broth is concentrated and darker|
|Add herbs in final stages of simmer|
|1st and 2nd wash of Single Broth||Reduce and season to taste||Fortified Broth Vs Pure Stock|
For both stock and broth: Once you refrigerate them overnight and the fat cap forms, you should remove this fat and discard. Beef fat is not healthy and is the only fat I ever throw away. Beef fat will be orange in color and very crumbly and flaky which is highly contrasted to the gelatinous dark brown broth or creamy stock below. As before, don’t throw away good stock or broth trying to meticulously remove every bit of fat. A little is ok and is actually good, but excess is not.
|Skim like with all Stocks/Broths||Beef Fat Cap||Discard Fat Cap|
If you need to refrigerate your stock or broth in the middle of this process due to not having enough burners to maintain a simmer for all components then you can absolutely use the beef fat as your cooking fat for searing the second stage of beef meat and mirepoix when making a fortified broth. Beyond this stock/broth making process though I do not keep beef fat. Bacon drippings, Lard, and real butter are always on my countertop along with an array of quality oils though. (E.V. Olive, Safflower, Grapeseed, Peanut, Sesame, and Coconut if you’d like to know)
The final stages of beef stock and broth are the same where the broth should be adjusted and flavored to taste. If making beef bone broth then add stock to any amount of broth to personal taste after seasoning the broth. Use, freeze, or can what you have made. Keep in mind these are very concentrated products that are intended to be thinned out. If it tastes too roasted or powerful then try diluting it a bit to get the more normal flavor from it before you over adjust the flavor profile. Beef base and tomato paste are huge allies here as well as onion and garlic powder. Go easy on the salt and don’t add anything that won’t dissolve. It is too late for dried herbs unless you intend to simmer and strain them.
|Setup a pressure canner||Enjoy your stock and broth all year long|