When I told my oldest son I was roasting some bones in the oven he looked at me sternly for a few seconds before exclaiming, “Mom, you just keep getting weirder and weirder!” I suppose from the perspective of a 10 year old, the idea of roasting bones, then “painting” them with tomato paste (a bit of a macabre-looking scene to be sure) and then simmering them in a cauldron, um, I mean crock pot, sounds a bit bizarre. But in spite of appearances, there is a method to my (seeming) madness.
In the post How to Make Chicken Stock in Five Minutes I touched on some of the health benefits of eating bone stock. It’s a great “whole” food few of us incorporate into our modern diets. Health benefits are one thing, but when you experience the exquisite flavor of real “brown” beef bone stock you will understand just how worthwhile it is to make it yourself. Store bought stock will never have the same rich flavor and certainly not provide you with the full health benefits.
This recipe is based on one from Emeril Lagasse. I have tweaked the quantities, eliminated the wine and thyme, increased the cooking time and included vinegar to pull the minerals out of the bones for maximum health benefit. You could make bone stock without roasting the bones but it would not have quite the same rich flavor. The process of browning the bones makes for a sophisticated flavor that is beyond compare. This is a classic method chefs use to obtain maximum flavor from bones for use in stocks and sauces.
The recipe makes a fairly significant amount of mineral rich, delicious bone stock which means the invested time and money is well worth it.
- 5 pounds beef and veal bones (preferably including some joints)
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
- 2-3 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 4 Bay leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 10-15 peppercorns
- 12 cups of cold water
- Celtic sea salt (added at the end of the process)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the bones on a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, flip them over and roast for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and brush hot bones on all sides with the tomato paste.
- Add the onion, carrots and celery to the roasting pan and roast for a final 30 minutes.
- Add the roasted bones and vegetables to a large crock pot (or stock pot).
- Place the pan on the stove and deglaze with the vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan for browned particles.
- Pour some of the water into pan to further deglaze it and then pour the resulting liquid into the crock pot along with the remainder of the 12 cups of cold water.
- Add the Bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns to the pot.
- Cover and cook on low heat for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours.
- Remove from the heat and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface.
- Strain the liquid and discard the bones and other ingredients.
- Add the celtic sea salt to taste. (I used 1 tablespoon for the entire batch)
- Pour the beef bone stock into glass jars.
- Store in glass jars in the refrigerator for 3 days or freeze it. Just be sure you do not freeze in the ball mason jars. (I use Pyrex)
I made three batches of beef stew with this stock. It was concentrated enough that I diluted it by half with water for the recipe. That just goes to show how rich it was (after 48 hours). You could also reduce the beef bone stock further by cooking it down on the stovetop for more compact storage. If you are sensitive to tomatoes you can leave it out of the recipe.
Making your own beef bone stock will truly raise the caliber of any recipe you use it in. When I made my beef stew I found that I only needed to add some fresh thyme and a little salt and pepper along with the meat and veggies and I had a truly restaurant quality final product. It was also good to know that I was feeding my family and myself some really nutritious food.
Happy bone roasting!
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