Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beef Stock

I love my pressure cooker.  I went for years without using one, but boy oh boy was I hooked after my first experience, that's for sure!  There is almost no limit to the things you can do with a pressure cooker, but I use mine most often for making stocks.  I've already shown you how easy it is to make chicken stock in a pressure cooker, but today, we're going to see how easy it is to make beef stock!  The process is very similar, however, there are a few extra steps.

I was walking around my grocery store, a couple of years ago, just looking at all of the fun things they had to offer, when I saw a bag labeled "Beef Soup Bones".  I filed that away while I thought about how you would use those.  I eventually remembered watching a "Good Eats" episode a long time ago (didn't you just love that show??  I know I did!), and Alton showed how to make beef stock out of beef bones.  I couldn't remember if he said to use soup bones, but, my grocery store sells these bags for $2.50, so I figured I didn't have much to lose if it didn't work.  Thankfully, it did!  Lets get started, and I'll walk you through how easy it is to have homemade beef stock sitting in your freezer for your next batch of soup,  spaghetti sauce, brown rice, pressure cooker short ribs, rice pilaf...well, I could go on, but you get the idea....
Here's your grocery list for this one:
Beef bones*
2-3 TBS tomato paste
Dried herbs of your choice (I used oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaves)
Kosher salt
2 Ribs of celery
2 Carrot sticks
8 oz mushrooms
1/2 bottle of dry red wine (what you do with the other half can be between you and the beef stock!)

Easy peasy, right?  Lets get started!  As always, start preheating the oven to 425*, and lay the beef bones out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I find my beef bones in the refrigerated section between the seafood and beef section of the meat department at my grocery store.  If you can't find something like this, talk with the in-store butcher, and see if they have any bones in the back that you can have/purchase.  Once your oven has preheated to 425*, slide these bad boys in and let them roast for 30 minutes.  Since these bones are thicker, you need to cook them in the oven, to get the bone marrow softening, before putting them in the pressure cooker.

After 30 minutes are up, pull the bones out of the oven, and slather them with the tomato paste.  Don't measure it out, it doesn't have to be exact, just slap on enough to cover the tops of the bones!  Slide the newly covered bones back into the oven, for another 30 minutes.  I'm not going to lie, this doesn't smell very husband always crinkles his nose up when I do this, but...the end taste of the stock is good, and that's what matters, so I do what I have to!  The ends justify the means, right??  

During those last 30 minutes, I go on and get the rest of my goodies together.  I put the mushrooms, celery stalks (very neatly just broken in half), and carrot sticks (also just broken in half) in the pressure cooker, along with the salt and herbs of choice.  

After the last 30 minutes is up, take the bones out of the oven, and put them in with your herbs and veggies.  You will see some melted bone marrow on your cookie sheet, so go on and pour that into the pressure cooker, as well!  You worked hard for that, don't want to waste it!  Go on and add in your red wine at this point, and enough water to reach the "fill" line marked on the side.  Mine is 16 cups.  

Now that you have everything in the pot, lock the lid on, and bring the pressure up to high, and let it cook for 90 minutes, once the pressure has been brought up.  Let the pressure release naturally once the 90 minutes are up, and the end result is amazing!  I didn't put this in the fridge overnight, like I did with my chicken stock, but if you do stick yours in the fridge, it will congeal like jello, from the marrow setting up.  This is supposed to happen.  This is a sign of a stock made correctly, and that the bones have given their everything to the stock!  Also, when you strain off your stock, don't throw away the carrots and celery...those are really good to eat!  Yum!  Our dogs also love to eat the leftover beef bones...keeps them entertained for days, which is saying something.  Our dogs flat destroy dog toys....