Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beef Stock

Before I even had the chance to awkwardly approach a butcher to ask for animal bones, Lisa and I found some at the farmers' market.

Four Whistle Farms sells two-pound packages of beef bones for about $3.50. So does Trowlesworthy Farms, but they were sold out by the time I got to their booth.

The Four Whistle Farms bones still had lots of meat on them. In his book Sauces, James Peterson says that meat adds flavour to stock, while bones add body. An ideal, savoury stock would be made with only meat. This would be extremely expensive, so we use bones, vegetables, and meat scraps as a compromise. That extra bit of meat on the Four Whistle bones was definitely not a bad thing.

As with my last stock experiment, I once again worked from a Robuchon recipe, but this time with some major departures, using beef bones instead of veal, and tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes.

I roasted the bones and vegetables without parchment on a non-non-stick pan [sic] so that meat juices could caramelize on the surface. Then I deglazed the pan with water. This is a great way to add flavour to your stock. According to James Peterson, it also results in a clearer stock.

First while roasting, and then while simmering, the stock made my house smell unbelievable. Like, "run in off the cold street from a game of stick ball to find Nonna at the stove" unbelievable. "Provincial farmstead kitchen" unbelievable.

The finished product tasted great, but was a little heavy on tomato paste.

Beef Stock (adapted from The Complete Robuchon recipe for veal stock)
  • 2 pounds beef bones
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 pound mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • salt
Brown beef bones on a baking tray in 400F oven for about thirty minutes. Spread tomato paste onto bones and add carrot, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Brown vegetables. Place browned ingredients in stock pot with garlic, bouquet garni, and a pinch of salt. Deglaze pan with water or beef stock and add to stock pot. Cover contents of pot with cold water and simmer gently(!) for four hours.


  1. Please share me your thoughts on bone marrow + soup !

  2. Do you mean a marrow bone served in broth? Or is the marrow removed and incorporated into the soup in some way?

    Either way I am intrigued (and, actually, salivating a little bit). Let me know.

  3. In the book "Fat" that I had mentioned, there's a fantastic section re. bone marrow.

    I think I mean both, because in some soups I have had before, it has bone in it, and the marrow (obviously inside) is served in the bone. So, you've got bone in your soup, and can eat the marrow out of the bone.

    It's supposed to be one of the most nutritious things you can ever consume.

    Do it !