Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beef Stock

I never use MSG and never will. I took the opportunity to prepare some beef stock that I can use for my future recipes. This is not something you can prepare "ad hoc" when you need it, due to the long preparation time, but you can easily prepare it while you are cooking something else, and freeze it for months so you won't have to do this again for quite a while.

Luckily, I managed to get hold of some marrow bones purchased at "Espirito Santo" at Parkway Parade. I placed them on a baking tray with some roughly cut carrots, celery, onions and a halved bulb of garlic. I planted a few cloves into the bones, and drizzled the ingredients with some olive oil before putting the tray into an oven heated at 220°C.

After 30 mins or so, when the bones were nicely browned, I removed the contents and placed them into a large saucepan, together with a "mazzetto aromatico", or a selection of herbs including sage, parsley, marjoram. I topped the content with a couple of bay leaves and some whole peppercorns, extra carrots, celery and fennel. Finally, I placed the pan on medium heat and covered the ingredients with cold water. Once the water starts boiling, remember to adjust the heat to keep it on a slow simmer, and let it continue for 2-4 hours, topping with extra water when necessary.

After about 4 hours, I removed the pan from the fire, and let the stock cool down for about 10 mins. I then filter the contents, separating the juice using a very fine colander and squeezing the vegetables to extract every bit of juice left.

Finally, I placed the content into ice cube containers for freezing. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to remove stock cubes from these containers due to the oily nature of the stock. I would rather use ice cube bags, however I have not been successful at finding these in Singapore yet.

You now have a delicate, tasty and natural stock which you can use for future recipes!

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