The Best Beef Stock

29 May

This is beef stock so rich and beefy it’s almost like a beef soup.

I never made as much beef stock as chicken stock, because I thought the flavour was always too vegetabley – even though I tried various recipes and always roasted my beef bones. It turns out the secret is to use more beef. Lots more beef. So much beef that you can use the leftovers to make enough chilli for a week.

Whenever I freeze a batch of stock I get this very satisfied nesting feeling (I also get that feeling after a big grocery shop). It’s like … if there were a zombie apocalypse, we would last a few days longer than we otherwise would, and that makes me happy.

Oh. Oh. That reminds me! A couple of years ago, James told me he’d had a dream that there had been a zombie attack, and he said by the time he was able to make it back to the apartment I had been killed and Kyoto was patrolling the boundary. And he said he’d been sad, but not really surprised that I had perished and Kyoto had survived. I was so offended. The cat is tougher than me??

But anyway, here is the stock bubbling away. That’s the largest Le Creuset dutch oven you can buy, and you can see that the meat was stacked all the way to the top to get that beefy flavour.


  • 1-2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3kg beef shanks (which the butcher told me was the same as beef osso bucco), meat cut from the bones in large chunks
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 litres boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the meat, bones and onion halves on all sides in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, and adding additional oil if necessary.
  2. Remove the contents and set aside. Add the red wine to the empty pot and cook until reduced to a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Return the bones, meat and onion to the pot. Reduce the heat to low then cover and sweat the meat and onion until they have released about 3/4 cup dark, very intensely flavoured liquid, about 20 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium high and add the water and salt. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to very low, partially cover, and barely simmer until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  5. Strain the stock into a container, discard the bones and onion, and set the meat aside for another use. Let the stock stand until fat rises to the top, then skim the fat and discard.

The result is the darkest, beefiest stock you’ve ever had. I had this simmering on a freezing Autumn day, and it warmed the apartment and made it smell fantastic and homey. It’s certainly more expensive than making chicken stock, but since you can use the osso bucco afterwards it’s not so bad. Just don’t be like me – I only had a pricey bottle of red wine available and couldn’t be bothered going out to buy more, which resulted in fancy beef stock.


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