Friday, November 23, 2012

Making the Most: Beef Stock

I've been wanting to make beef stock for a while now. It can be expensive, and is almost always salt laden. And, I don't know about you, but it always seems to taste just a little metallic.

In either case, its not that hard or expensive to make.

It tickles my sense of frugality, because it uses something at is normally tossed out.  The best two pieces to use are femur bones (LOTS of marrow, which is what adds that really beefy-meaty taste) or shanks, which also have good marrow, but also have some meat attached. My butcher sells them already cut up, and not as cheap as I had hoped...perhaps yo will have better luck in that respect!

I had some vegetables (onions, carrots, , while perfectly edible were no longer good for a main meal. Added these, as well as a handful of herbs from my quickly freezing garden (thyme and parsley). I also added in about a cup of dry red wine, a few good shots of Worcestershire sauce and about 1/5 gallons of water....enough to cover everything.

 I let it simmer for about 6 hours. (This is when I miss my wood stove!) After about 2 hours, I pulled the bones up out of the water and used a knife to loosen the now cooked marrow.  Maybe I didn't need to do it, but I wanted to make sure to get all the goodness I could.
 After simmering, I let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator overnight.  As you can see from the picture above, there was a significant amount of fat to be found in the marrow.  I didn't want a lot of that in my stock.  I suppose I could have used a fat separator, but I find this much easier.

 You can see the fat hardened on top of the stock, about a 1/4" deep.  This is easily broken up and pulled out of the pot. 
 I have to admit, I put it aside. I will need to process it more to get the meat particles out, and do some research, but I know it has a number of uses, and I had a whole pint of it, so I threw it in the freezer for the time being.
 Extra benefit...very, very happy dogs who have new treats! (Yes, he is hording another bone...stole it from one of the other dogs.)
 Now, very important. Stock HAS to be pressure canned. Beef Stock (in pints) needs to be canned at 10 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes in my canner. (Check here in case you have altitude issues or are more curious... )
 Lovely!  This is how they came out; made just shy of a case.

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