Southern Kitchen Classics: Beef Stock
Making a good soup is like making a good gumbo, ya gotta start with a developed foundation. As labor intense as the making a dark roux is, the result forms the flavor dominance and depth required in the gumbos we enjoy. Starting with a well developed beef stock is essence in creating a good beef based soup; one that draws from the flavors of roasted vegetables, beef bones and the rich marrow inside. To this stock, we add the seasonings and the vegetables which gives our bodies and soul the reward of taking the time to make a soup 'from scratch'.
Making a good, rich beef stock is not hard, it does however take several hours to develop the richness desired. Roasting in the oven adds exceptional flavor and color to stocks. In making a beef stock, I like to roast some form of acidic tomato (ketchup) on the bones which not only boost flavor but also draws minerals from the bone. With this stock I like to make gravies, soups and sauces. Each batch makes enough for a large pot of soup or ample quantities that I freeze or refrigerate in smaller containers for future use.
Below is the recipe I use to make beef stock. Today I used beef shanks 'cause I wanted to use the meat in the Vegetable Soup recipe that follows. Enjoy!
Rich Beef Stock
made with roasted vegetables and beef bones
makes about 6 quarts
6 to 8 pounds beef bones, oxtails, shins, short ribs or beef shanks (the meat is a plus)
|hot, rich beef stock|
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 onions, quartered
2 ribs of celery, halved
2 carrots, cut into 4x1/2-inch strips
1/2 green bell pepper, quartered
6 garlic toes, halved
2 cups dry red wine
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 1/2 quarts cold water
For beef bones, oxtails, shins: Place in a roasting pan, lightly sprinkle with salt and cook for 45 minutes. Turn bones over and cook 20 minutes.
For short ribs, beef shanks: Place in a roasting pan, lightly sprinkle with salt and cook for 25 minutes. Turn bones over and cook 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, pour off any liquid reserving the bottom broth. Discard the top grease.
Reduce oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the ketchup with the black pepper and brush onto the bones, ribs or shanks. Scatter on top the onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper and garlic. Return to oven and cook for 30 minutes. Add the red wine, the reserved broth and cook another 30 minutes.
Place all in a large stockpot and add the bay leaves, thyme and water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low (barely simmering) cooking for 4 to 6 hours. Continually skim off the scum that forms on the surface.
Strain liquid in a colander using layers of cheesecloth or linen if you prefer a clear stock (consomme). Discard the solids. Store the stock in sealed containers after it cools completely (or proceed to make soup).
Now, with making the stock aside, we get to move to the real reason of this post - a most flavorful pot of soup that is good for you and allows you to appreciate the time you took to develop the depth of a rich, full bodied stock.
Vegetable Soup with Beef Shank Stock
made with fresh or frozen vegetables (with a little pantry help) that taste garden picked
serves 6 to 10
|Beefy Vegetable Soup|
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, cubed
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 quarts Rich Beef Stock -recipe from above
1 pound fresh green beans,trimmed in 1-inch sections (1 -14 oz frozen)
1 pound fresh, dry shelled small lima beans (1 -16 oz petite frozen)
kernels from 5 to 6 ears of fresh corn (1 -16 oz frozen)
1/2 pound fresh okra, chopped (3/4 cup frozen)
1 large white potato, peeled and cubed
1 -14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 15-.5 oz cannellini beans, drained
2 sprigs fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the carrots, celery and onions. Saute until onion is clear. Add the beef stock, increase heat and bring to a simmer. Add salt if needed. Add all ingredients and allow soup to come back to a low simmer. Reduce heat and cook 30 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Serve hot with choice of bread.
Note: To make a Beefy Vegetable Soup, cut a 1 1/2 to 2 pound roast in bite size pieces, season and sear in hot oil. Add to the soup when adding the beef stock.