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This very basic stock recipe can be incorporated into a gazillion dishes. It can be reduced down to make gravy, can be featured in a soup (my intention), or can be used as a braising liquid for roasting meat. There’s no need to rely on boxed broths when homemade stock can be made easily and inexpensively. You just need a little bit of time.

For this recipe, I opted for shanks because they contain cartilage and marrow which enrich and flavor the broth (gross, but true), though any cut of beef will do. I didn’t have many vegetables on hand, so I stuck to onions and herbs, but other vegetables and aromatics, such as carrots, celery and parsley, can be added.

If you don’t have three hours to make this stock, brown the shanks in a pan, combine all ingredients in a crock pot and set on low, then let cook while you’re at work.

1 large beef shank (about a 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
2 large white onions, peeled and quartered
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
10 to 12 cups of water
Canola oil

1. Drizzle canola oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Drop in the beef shank and brown on both sides.

2. When meat is browned, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

3. When stock is boiling, skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Repeat process a few times til the foam subsides, then reduce heat to low.

4. Let stock simmer for 2-3 hours, then remove pot from heat. Pour broth through a strainer into a large bowl and cover, reserving the shank and veggies for another use (shred the meat to use in a delicious hash, casserole, etc.)

5. Let the broth cool in the refridgerator overnight, then skim fat. Use broth over the next few days, or freeze in air-tight containers.