Prepared beef stock is easy to buy and definitely has a place in the kitchen, especially for busy cooks. However there is nothing quite like the taste of freshly prepared homemade beef stock. There is a richness about it that is just not available in commercially available stocks.
Store bought stock is also very heavy on the sodium, which can be a problem for many. Since stock takes a long time to make, it is best to make large batches then freeze a few portions for later.
Which is Better: Stock or Bouillion Cubes?
If you don’t have room in your freezer, you can also boil the stock down to make concentrated beef cubes that have the same rich flavor, but take up far less room in the freezer. The process is pretty simple, as we are simply reducing the stock to a condensed version of the original. See the bottom of the post for detailed bouillon cube instructions.
- 4 pounds meaty beef bones
- 2 onions, cut into quarters
- 2 large carrots, cut into halves
- 4 ribs celery, cut into halves
- 3½ quarts cold water
- Small Bunch of Fresh Parsley
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 T Fresh Thyme
- Black Peppercorns
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse bones in cold water and place in large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes turning once.
- Add onions, carrots and celery on top of bones. Roast an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables and bones, then place in the stock pot.
- The next step is to deglaze the pan to get all the delicious cooking juices into your stock.
- Place the roasting pan on an oven burners over medium high heat.
- Pour ½ of the cold water in the pan (about 2 cups) and cook about 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan constantly.
- Continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by about half, then add to stock pot.
- Add remaining water, herbs, peppercorns and garlic to stock pot.
- Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer for 3-4 hours. Occasionally remove any foam that bubbles up to the top.
- Remove stock from heat and allow to cool.
- Remove and discard bones & large vegetables.
- Line a colander with several layers of damp cheesecloth.
- Pour stock through the colander into a large pitcher or bowl.
- Refrigerate your homemade beef stock in a covered container, skim excess fat before use.
- You can use veal or bison bones instead of beef or try a combination.
- A few ounces tomato paste can be spread over the beef bones before adding the vegetables if desired.
Cooking Utensils Needed
- Roasting Pan
- Stock Pot or 5 quart dutch oven
- Large pitcher or bowl
Making your Own Bouillon Cubes
Once you have made your stock, you may not need to use it all in one recipe. While stock freezes very easily it also takes up quite a bit of room. Follow these easy instructions to create your own bouillon cubes.
- After you have strained the beef stock, return to medium high heat.
- Cook the stock down until it is a very, syrupy consistency.
- Keep an eye on the stock as it boils down
- Continue stirring and take care not to let it burn.
- Once the consistency is achieved, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Pour into ice cube trays or small tuperware containers and freeze.