“Three days seems like a lot of trouble for a few cubes.” said the Wife. I was finding it difficult to disagree with her. Enthusiasm had once again got the better of me and I set about preparing some seriously reduced beef stock to use as a base for stews, sauces and gravies. My butcher friend, Long John, (not to be confused with his colleague Big John) had very generously dropped off some beef bones. “This shouldn’t take too long.” I mused to myself as I took out my new stock pot. How wrong could I be?
Ingredients: There is no need for a list. Look at the photo above.
Day one: Take delivery of the beef bones and buy the vegetables. Put the bones in a roasting tray.
Put the balance of the bones into a second roasting tray.
Roughly chop the vegetables.
Put the vegetables in another roasting tray with a little olive oil.
Put all three trays in a 180º C oven for 45 minutes. This will brown the bones and soften the vegetables.
Add the bones, the vegetables and the bay leaves to the stock pot. By the by, to get this shot, I had to put the tripod and myself on the kitchen table. Not a good way to score domestic points.
Next, add ten pints of water.
Bring the stock to the boil and simmer, covered, for three or four hours. Turn off the heat and spoon off as much of the fat from the surface as you can. By this stage, it will be time for bed.
Day two: Lift the lid on the pot. Spoon off the remaining hardened fat.
Remove all the solid material – bones, vegetables, garlic and bay leaves.
At this stage, there will be about a gallon of liquid left in the pot. Strain this through some muslin to remove any remaining fat and impurities.
Simmer the stock with the lid off. When you have reduced this by about 85%, turn off the heat. If you have done anything other than mind the pot for the day, it will be near enough to bed time again. Leave the pot overnight to cool. The reduced stock will be a jelly.
Day 3: Whatever fat has not been removed can be soaked up on kitchen paper at this stage. Shake the jelly off the bottom of the pot and take a photo of it.
Next, warm the pot slightly to liquefy the stock. Pour it into ice-cube containers or an ice-cube bag for use in anything where you want an intense beef hit.
I got 56 ice-cube size ‘beef bombs’ and a little over, all ready for the freezer. I can’t wait to use them in soups, chilis, gravies, sauces and delicious other ways not yet thought about.