It’s BLOODY cold and the Game of Thrones season finale is on tonight. To celebrate the wintery death happening both on and off screen, I made some homemade stock over the weekend! I’m a huge fan of this old fashioned practice because it’s easy, versatile and a great way to utilise your vegetable off cuts – I hate food wastage! I also enjoy being able to control what is at the base of my recipes, so it’s great for anyone who is health conscious.
Let’s do this!
- 2kg beef bones
- 1 head of garlic, either roughly chopped or smashed
- 4 celery stalks, chopped in quarters.
- 1 handful of fresh parsley
- 1 handful of thyme sprig
- 1 sprig of rosemary (a few sprinkles of the dry stuff is fine too)
- 3 bay leaves
- Any vegetable off cuts, stems and peels from the week. I tend to use celery, carrot, leek, onion, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, fresh herbs, etc.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C for you fancy fan-forced people). Place bones, onion, carrot and celery in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour 30 minutes or until browned. Be sure to turn halfway through.
- Transfer your bones and roasted vegetables into a large stock pot – absolutely scrape all of the moisture and crunchy bits in there too. Add all of your other vegetables, cut offs, peppercorns and herbs and then cover with water. Put on a medium to high heat and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering, uncovered, for 3 hours. Most stock recipes call for regular fat skimming but I’m pretty lazy and find it far easier to get rid of it once it solidifies on the surface after refrigeration.
- Because I put in quite a lot of ingredients compared to similar recipes I will often add a bit of extra water as it begins to reduce, but this is to taste and not necessary. I just like getting the most out of my stock because I’m a frugal bitch.
- Strain the stock into a large bowl or container and discard the solids. For an even clearer broth, strain a second time but add coffee filters or cheesecloth to your colander. I don’t usually bother as a few escaped herbs don’t worry me.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days – be super careful to leave it undisturbed so you don’t break the fat surface. Alternatively, leave it in the fridge overnight, skim the fat off and then freeze for up to 3 months.
- Want to make chicken stock instead? No problem, you can easily substitute the bones for a whole chicken carcass! I will generally do this after making a roast chicken for dinner – you can also throw in extra, raw chicken wings in for additional flavour. You also don’t need to worry about roasting off the carrot and onion in this case – just chuck them in the pot raw. You can even just do that for the beef stock if you like, I’m not the boss of you.
- Vegetable cut offs can pile up quickly! In order to avoid waste I will often keep them in a zip lock bag in the freezer (or even a plastic bag) and add to it as I go. By the end of the week I always have plenty to use.
- You’re best off getting your beef bones from the local butcher. They’re super cheap and if you ask nicely they may even crack them for you so the sweet, sweet marrow can be easily released into your stock.