Home-made stock is an important success factor to many dishes and sauces. It is vastly superior to bouillon cubes and in most cases also better than anything else you can buy in a store. It’s not hard to make — it just takes a bit of time. After the success of pressure-cooked chicken stock I am a strong supporter of using a pressure cooker to make stock (with the most important reason more flavor, not the shorter cooking time), and so I also prepared this beef stock in my pressure cooker. You could however also prepare it in an ordinary pot and it will still turn out great.
‘Brown’ stock means that the bones and vegetables used for the stock have been browned in the oven before they were used to make the stock, which gives the stock a deeper flavor. I used oxtail for the meat and bones since I had some oxtail in my freezer that I wanted to use up, but you could also use other beef bones and meat to make beef stock. The amounts in this recipe are based upon Modernist Cuisine, but I omit the garlic and use oxtail instead of ground beef and a calf’s foot.
2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) oxail or other combination of beef meat and bones
250 ml (1 cup) red wine
200 grams (.44 lbs) onions
200 grams (.44 lbs) carrots
1 stick celery
50 grams (2 oz) double-concentrated tomato paste (or double that amount single-concentrated)
16 grams (.5 oz) fresh thyme
3 grams (1 sprig) rosemary
1 star anise
80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil (or beef suet)
Roughly chop the vegetables. Put the vegetables and the meat in a roasting tray. Add the tomato mixture and toss to coat on all sides. The mixture of tomato and oil will help the browning process and will deepen the flavor.
Put about 2 litres of water in the roasting tray and scrape the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spatula. Add this water to the pressure cooker (or stock pot). This is to get all of the flavor in the stock.
If using a stock pot, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 5 hours.
Allow the stock to cool. It is best to do this quickly with an ice bath. When the stock is cool, the fat will be a solid layer that floats on top that can easily be removed and used to make a wonderful pasta dish with cauliflower.
The stock can be used straight away, or frozen. To make beef demi-glace, simmer the beef stock until reduced to only about 1/5 of the original amount. Never add salt to stock before it has reached the desired concentration, otherwise your preparation may be ruined by being too salty.