This weekend I started what is sure to be my most time-intensive recipe yet, Thomas Keller’s Beef Stroganoff from the Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook. It’s made in three parts (I’ve completed the first two, with the third coming tonight) and I’ll post it as such. Step one is to make the beef stock.
Stocks are all pretty similar. The main difference between them is sometimes you roast the bones and/or vegetables and sometimes you don’t. With beef stock it seems you generally do. (With chicken stocks it appears you generally do not, and veal can go either way.)
For this one I started by roasting some neck and leg bones in my All-Clad Roaster. While the bones are browning, Chef Keller also instructs you to char half of an onion. I don’t know if this is something you can do properly in a non-stick pan (I don’t own any) but if you have one I’d give it a try because I spent longer scrubbing the resulting black marks out of my beautiful D5 sauté pan than I did charring the damned onion in the first place.
Once the bones are roasted I set them over a colander to drain…
and drained the fat from the pan. Then I deglazed with water.
Toward the end of the simmering it was time to roast the vegetables.
Then I added them to the stock along with half a head of garlic, some herbs and peppercorns, and simmered for about an hour longer.
During this whole process I was skimming the stock. At first it was quite frequent, then later probably every half hour or so. When I made the chicken stock I skimmed as well, but I fished out far more impurities from this one. I was actually surprised at how much came out of there. It’s important to skim regularly since the impurities can, if left there long enough, dissolve back into the stock and make it cloudy, so even though beef stock isn’t a whole lot of work, you have to assume you’ll be spending the day at home while you make it. It’s not like a spaghetti sauce that can be left to simmer for hours unattended.
After that all that is left is to strain it a couple times…
cool in an ice bath, and then toss in the fridge. After the stock gets cold the remaining fat will solidify at the top for easy removal. I don’t know how there could be any given how much skimming and straining I did, but there was plenty.
Overall I feel like this one was worth it. The total time was about 7 hours, though most of that was just skimming in between doing other stuff. The result was quite a bit better than than what you’d buy at the store, which is typically labeled “beef broth” and I think therefore not made from bones.
Next up, braising some short ribs. Yum.