There are some advantages of having a top end butcher as a friend. (There are plenty of disadvantages too, but that’s for another story.) One of the great benefits is having access to stock bones without having to demean myself by asking for “a few bones for the dog” as some are reputed to do. In chatting with said butcher, we got to talking about the possible difference in stock quality by using bones from a Wagyu carcass. The conversation led to an experiment. The rest, as they say is history.
To make my Wagyu beef stock, I used the bones shown in the picture along with three large onions, a handful of black peppercorns and a few bay leaves. The first thing I did was to bake the bones and onions in a 160ºC fan oven for an hour. The outcome of that process is in the picture below.
I then put them along with the peppercorns and bay leaves into a large stock pot and added 6 litres (one and a half gallons) of water. I brought this to a simmer and cooked it covered for four hours.
During the cooking process, I carefully removed most of the melted fat from the top of the stock. It is important to do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, the stock will never reduce if it has a thick layer of fat on top. Secondly, a lot of fat particles will get everywhere in the kitchen and leave me with a big cleaning job. Thirdly, and most importantly, that melted fat is liquid gold.
The fat will solidify and leave one with a bowl of beautiful Wagyu beef dripping. This is particularly elegant as the carcass from which I got the bones is from a cow that was reared in the Wicklow hills with a diet supplemented by olive meal. The meat is of the finest quality and the dripping and stock will be likewise.
I let the stock cool overnight and skimmed off the last of the fat. Then I reduced the stock by about half before removing the bones and onions. I then put the stock through a muslin and then reduced the stock to a litre and a half (3 pints) of the finest beef stock I have ever made. The stock is highly flavoured and I froze it in cubes for later use in making gravies, stews and sauces.
I got two cubes short of three trays out of my stock. This will last for a while. I am very happy with the outcome. The stock certainly tastes very beefy with a lovely clear finish. I can’t wait to try it in a sauce.