The other day I went to make dinner and wanted some beef stock for a slow cooker stew. So I pulled out a can from my pantry and because of Monkey’s food sensitivities, checked the label… I was shocked. So many chemicals and of course soy. So I pulled out my vegetable and chicken broth cans and found soy and milk (in the chicken broth)! Good grief, no wonder our bodies are so jacked up! What happened to plain old stocks and broths made from meat and veg?
I often make chicken/turkey stock after my Mum showed me how one Thanksgiving (so easy why had I not done this before?!), but I had not done beef or vegetable. Figuring it could not be hard, I consulted the web.
I discovered that you need to roast the beef bones first to bring out the flavoring. First to locate bones. Went to my local Stater Bros (as they have the nicest meat counter for a chain) and found that they sell bones for broth. I bought a few packages (about 4-5 various sized bones a package) and came home.
I roasted the bones for about an hour and a half, flipping half way through; then put half in a stock pot and half in my slow cooker. One site suggested the slow cooker so I decided to try both. Drawback to the slow cooker was it took forever to come to temp because it was so full. I ultimately combined the two in the stockpot. I threw in a carrot, onion, and celery for flavor covered with water, brought to boil and then let simmer for hours. I actually cooked this for probably close to 24 hours, turn off at night and when leaving my house. It is not cold where I live, so the pot never got cool over night.
Once it was done, I strained out the bones and vegetables and poured the stock into tall plastic containers to cool in my fridge. Once cooled completely, I removed the fat from the top (and stored that back in the fridge to use for cooking) and divided the stock into zip top bags for freezing; it was more gelatinous than the chicken/turkey stocks I have made before, but I decided this was likely because of the amount of marrow in the bones. I divided it into 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz amounts to make cooking easier. I have not used it yet, but it smelled delish and my dogs enjoyed the bit that ended up on their dinners!
I found a very helpful blog from The Kitchn about making vegetable stock from the scraps you have around the kitchen after preparing meals. This sounded like a great idea so I decided to try it. I threw my carrot and parsnip peals in there, along with the tops of leaks, bits of pepper, wilting celery, onion skins, corn cobs, etc in a ziptop bag and kept this in my chest freezer (just because I can… it started in my regular freezer, but then I got my chest freezer!). When I got two bags full, I threw everything in a big stock pot and boiled the veggies with plain old water for a few hours. I decided not to add any seasonings so that the stock would be plain and could be easily seasoned when using it.
I have used this stock (which is froze in 8oz and 16oz amounts) for couscous and it was delish! I also used it in my crock pot to cook lentils and it worked great from frozen. Added a bit of cooking time, but not enough to cause an issue. I would caution the use of sweet veggies in your stock as it sweetens the meal. I’m not sure that I would add my parsnips next time as they gave the stock a sweet, nutty flavor… but overall its not an issue.