Category: Basic Recipes and Sauces
Difficulty: Easy but long cooking time
This beef broth is an all-purpose broth that can be used for any recipe calling for beef broth. A good broth is the foundation to sauces, soups, and many stews. Broth freezes well and can be made in advance. For recipes calling for veal broth, replace the beef with veal shoulder and other bones; for lamb broth, replace with lamb neck and shoulder; and for vegetable broth, omit the meat and add a bunch of Swiss chard and two cut-up leeks. French cooks make the broth richer by first frying the bones in a skillet or roasting the bones in an oven. See the variation below for that method.
Yield: Makes 2 to 3 quarts
Preparation Time: 5 to 6 hours in all
4 pounds cracked beef marrow, shin, and/or shank bones, with meat on them
1 large onion, cut into eighths
1 carrot, cut up
1 celery stalk, cut up
1 leek, washed well and cut up
10 black peppercorns
Bouquet garni, tied together in cheesecloth, consisting of 3 sprigs fresh parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 2 fresh sage leaves, and 1 bay leaf
4 quarts water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Put all the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a stock pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim the surface of foam until no more appears. Partially cover and simmer on a very low heat for at least 5 hours.
2. Pour the broth through a cone-shaped strainer (chinoise), if you have one, and discard all the bones, meat, vegetables, and bouquet garni. Now pour the broth through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into another bowl or pot. Season with salt and pepper.
3. To de-fat the broth, let it rest in a refrigerator until the fat congeals on the top and can be lifted off. The broth can be frozen for up to 6 months.
To turn this broth into a fond brun de veau, replace the beef with veal and start by browning the meat in hot clarified butter in a large skillet until they are golden brown, turning with tongs. Remove to the stock pot. Add the onion and 2 peeled carrots cut into rounds to the skillet; when the onions have yellowed, remove to the stock pot and continue with the recipe. Alternatively, place the meat bones in a roasting pan and roast at 425ºF until well browned before using.