This is how you bring the flavors of restaurant cooking to your kitchen.
The only way to build flavor is to start with ingredients that have depth of flavor themselves, and that includes stock. Store-bought beef stock is just fine, but once fortified at home with mirepoix (50 percent onions, 25 percent carrots, 25 percent celery), beef bones, and bouquet garnie (aromatics), that ingredient becomes so much more impactful. It is best not to season the stock with salt, counterintiutive as that might be. The reason: the fortified beef stock is an ingredient itself that gets seasoned in the preparation where it is being used. If the stock is salted when made, that might affect the outcome of the dish for which it is being used. Best results and enduring success in the kitchen is always about technique, not torture!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; wet measuring cup; Dutch oven or large pot; tongs; cheesecloth; twine; wooden spoon; strainer; large spoon
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
2 pounds beef bones
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced 10 parsley stems (save leaves for another use)
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns. 8 cups beef broth
1. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the optional oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then add the beef bones and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and the fat renders. Remove the bones to a dish and set aside.
ILOC tip: if you have very fatty beef bones, you do not need to use the vegetable oil, and instead may add the fatty bones to the hot pot.
2. Leave the rendered fat in the pan and add the mirepoix: onion carrots, and celery. Sauté until softened but not at all browned, stirring frequently, about 6-8 minutes.
"The ratios of mirepoix must be respected. Equal parts carrot and celery should together be qual to the onion quantity. Too much celery or carrots throws the whole thing off balance, yielding a most unpleasant stock."
3. To make the bouquet garnie, place the parsley stems, garlic clove, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and peppercorns in cheesecloth and tie with string. Place the cooked bones on top of the sautéed mirepoix. Using tongs, tuck in the bouquet garnie between the bones. Pour the stock over the bones.
4. Bring the stock to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the pot from the heat. Strain the soup and discard the mirepoix and bones, or save for another use.
ILOC tip: mirepoix is typically not used for anything after it has given all of its glory to the broth. That being said, it can be used to make baby food or even a feast for your favorite canine!
6. If you need to use the stock immediately, carefully remove the fat from the surface with a large spoon. Reserve the fat for later use. If the stock is not for immediate use, once cool refrigerate for 4 hours up to overnight, then remove the congealed fat on the surface.
ILOC tip: rendered beef fat is heavenly with caramelized onions, especially in French Onion Soup, or with roasted potatoes, a seared filet mignon with a mushroom sauce...store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes 6 cups.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze immediately after it cools.