Monday 1 August 2011

Beef Stock

Step 1: Roast
I only wanted to make a small amount of stock, so I started with one kilo of beef bones, sprinkled well with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, and gently roasted in the oven at 180℃ for 1 hour. I didn't want to burn the bones, just brown them and start to render out the fat. Then some vegetables were added to the baking dish - some carrot and onion, and roasted for another 30 minutes to caramelise the vegetables.

Step 2: Pressure Cooker
Into the pressure cooker went the browned bones, carrots and onion, plus a celery stick (with leaves), a small leek, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of peppercorns, 1 star anise, 1 cup hot red wine (heated to remove the alcohol), a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a sprig of fresh rosemary, and enough cold water to cover everything. The pot was brought up to pressure, then left to cook on a low heat and high pressure for 90 minutes, then the heat switched off and the pot allowed to cool and lose pressure slowly. Notice how nothing has moved when I take the lid off the pot? It's actually a very gentle way of cooking!

Step 3: Strain and Chill
It's much easier to strain a stock made in a pressure cooker. Because the mixture barely simmers, you don't get anywhere near as much sediment as when you use a normal pot. You also don't get any scum. The strained stock was put into the fridge to cool. Once cool, the fat was skimmed off the top of the jellied stock. I ended up with 1.5 litres of stock. 

Worth the effort?

The pressure cooker certainly takes care of the biggest hurdle in making home made stock, which is time. In terms of cost, a litre of of beef stock from the supermarket will cost $4-6, depending on the quality. The beef bones to make this stock cost $4-5 a pack, and the vegetables were already in the fridge - I didn't buy any extra specifically to make stock. So it costs about the same as buying a carton.

The benefit is that you know what's in the stock, you have control over the amount of salt, the flavourings added, and you get a real richness from all the gelatine in the bones that you don't often get in commercial stock.

I used this to make a delicious jus for roast beef, and a very yummy french onion soup.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The French Onion Soup was wonderful!