1. Ingredients: 1 tomato or 3 ounces tomato paste, 1 large carrot, 2 celery stalks, 2 medium onions, 15 black peppercorns, and 1 bay leaf (optional ingredients: herb stems from parsley and thyme). You can use beef bones and beef trimming without the fat (beef trimming is not required, but adds a lot of flavor), and you can also purchase “stew meat” to enhance the stock's flavor. We recommend using 6 pounds of bones, and 2 pounds stew meat.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), place the bones (not the trim) onto a sheet pan, and put the pan into the oven. Do not heat the oven any higher than 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) or the bones' surface can burn, resulting in a bitter-tasting stock. Cook for about 35 minutes or until the bones are well browned, turning occasionally.
3. While the bones are in the oven, coarsely cut up the carrots, celery, and onion. This combination of ingredients is known as mirepoix. Also cut up the tomato (if you are using one). Keep all of the vegetables separate--you will add them at different times.
4. Place a large stockpot on the stove and turn the heat to high. Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of light olive or vegetable oil. (This pot will be used first to caramelize the vegetables. Caramelizing of both the bones and the vegetables will create a more complex and robust stock. Without caramelization, the stock will have a very murky look and muddy taste.)
5. Add onions and carrots, stirring constantly until onion is soft and caramel colored--about 15 minutes.
6. Add the tomato product. If you use a paste, you will not need to cook the mixture as long as if you use fresh tomatoes.
7. Once the vegetables are caramelized to a dark color, add the celery.
8. At this point, the bones should be a light brown roasted color, but not burnt. If they have burned slightly, pick those spots off; or where the bones are too burned, throw the bones away.
9. If you have any trim to add to your beef broth, add it to the sheet tray with the bones now.
10. Once the bones and trim have turned a consistent roasted brown, add them to the caramelized vegetables. Cover with water to one inch above the level of the bones and vegetables. Once stock has been heated, turn stove to low and simmer. Do not let stock boil.
11. Add bay leaf and black peppercorns to beef broth, as well as herb stems from parsley and thyme if, you choose.
12. The sheet tray now contains crystallized drippings from the bones and trim, known as fond. The fond contains a lot of concentrated flavor, so you’ll want to add it to the stock. Place this tray on top of a burner and add a small amount of water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. (This is known as deglazing.)
13. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the bits of fond. The liquid combined with the heat from the stove will cause the fond to quickly hydrate and blend with the water.
14. Once all or most of the fond has been removed from the pan, add to the stockpot.
15. After a while, the fat and impurities from the bones and meat trimming will float to the top. Skim this fat off the top, being careful not to capture too much of the stock in the ladle. Repeat this step over and over as new layers of fat form. You want to prevent fat from getting back into the stock as this is what creates a muddy flavor and cloudy appearance.
16. After about eight hours of skimming and simmering, strain the stock. Often small meat and bones particles can form.
17. Strain the stock through a cheesecloth after the initial straining, just to make certain it’s clean and free of debris.
18. When the beef stock is done it should be dark brown in color.
19. At this point, you can also reduce this stock to create what is known as “glace.” Gently simmer the stock over low heat until it has reduced to approximately 10% of its original volume, and is nearly the consistency of maple syrup. This will take several hours, and great care must be taken that the glace does not burn, especially towards the end of the reduction process. Often people will freeze their reduced stock into ice cube trays and then add one cube at a time to some water, reconstituting the amount to the original strength in consistency, viscosity, and flavor.
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