This has been in the back of my mind for a while. I make virtually all my food from scratch but stocks are something I rely on the cubes for. Working with chemicals for so long has really made me think about ways to avoid them in my home, mainly in my cooking. When I told my Nana and Irish mammy I was trying to track down beef bones for stock they both thought I was mad. 'Just use the OXO cubes!' they said. My Nana admitted when she'd made it before it was never clear and just didn't end up being worth the effort. Despite the advice from these two women I adore, I thought I'd try my hand at it for the craic.
So I found a recipe I thought I could do and set to it. I thought the most difficult part would be having to wait through 8 hours of simmering, but the most difficult part of the process was getting my hands on the beef bones. I went to butcher after butcher after butcher with no luck. I seemed to always be just a little too late, the last customer just got them. This went on for a couple of days and I started to worry that maybe this was an exercise in futility. Until ... the second butcher I tried in the neighbouring town. This was going to be my last attempt. At least for this week :)
Trimmed bones before roasting
Roasted bones - ready for the pot!
Now that I had the vital ingredient I was really looking forward to getting the stock going. While the bones were roasting I got my mirepoix (sounds fancy, eh? Its chopped onions, carrots and celery) ready so I could get this stuff simmering. I had 8 hours of watching it to do!!
Here we go!
It was really quite simple - throw everything in a pot, bring it to a boil then leave to simmer for 8 hours. There was a good amount of fat to skim off the top so I had to keep an eye on it, but my persistence paid off as I had a fragrant, clear stock at the end of it all.
The recipe yielded about 2 liters of stock. I could have reduced it down to make it a little more concentrated but it was midnight and I was well sick of the sight of the stuff, so I put it in the fridge. I was delighted to see it was even more clear after it was chilled and that I could easily remove the little bit of fat that remained in the stock from the surface. I froze it into ice cubes and will use it for stew this weekend. I'll let you know how that works out :)
Have you ever made stock before? Any tips?
Hope you have a fantastic Thursday!