Homemade Beef Stock

Making homemade beef stock is easy. And it is free of all the extra additives and excessive salt the commercial stocks contain. Ask a butcher for soup bones, which shouldn’t cost much. If you have a meat market in your area that sells range-fed beef, so much the better.

All the recipes for beef stock call for roasting the bones in the oven for about an hour until they are brown. I have found I can brown the bones on top of the stove in less time, using less fuel.

Beef Stock
makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

2 lbs. (about 1 kilo) beef soup bones
vegetable oil
4 small limes or 2 large limes, juiced (or fresh lemon juice)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
3 sprigs of parsley
2 quarts (about 2 liters) water

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Spread it around so the entire bottom of the pot is oiled. Add bones and cook, turning, until brown, about 20-30 minutes. The bones should be well browned, with brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Transfer browned bones to a pressure cooker (or another dish if cooking the stock in the same pot). Add lime or lemon juice and deglaze the pot, scraping up all the brown bits, known as fond, which add color and flavor to the stock.

If using a pressure cooker, add fond and citrus juice to the pressure cooker. Add onion and parsley. Cover with water, using about 2 quarts (2 liters).

Bring to a rocking pressure, and cook for 2 hours, adjusting heat if necessary. If using the stock pot, add everything to the pot and cook, covered, for 3-4 hours. With either pan, leave the lid on after the heat is turned off, and let stock cool on its own. This gives the acid of the citrus juice additional time to leach minerals out of the bones.

Strain through a colander, discarding bones and solids. Salt to taste. When cool, the fat on top will harden and be easy to remove.

Salt to taste. When cool, the fat on top will harden and be easy to remove. This stock is concentrated. Depending on your taste, you may want to dilute it with water before using in soup. In the summer, I like to eat a dish of it cold and gelatinous — cool spoonfuls of power-packed nutrition. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Homemade Beef Stock

Notes:


The observant eye may see an herb in my pot not readily recognizable. This is epazote, an herb common in Mexican cooking, and one I am experimenting with in different recipes. Other herbs may be added to the pot, such as oregano, basil or marjoram. Also, other vegetables can be added, such as celery, carrots and tomatoes. There are no rules in cooking.


The long cooking time allows for greater leaching out of calcium and other minerals from the bones, resulting in a mineral-rich stock. The acid of the citrus juice, as well as serving to deglaze the pot, is the leaching agent.


If you have a dog, the bones make great treats. Our dog Chucha even eats the discarded vegetables. (Is is OK to post a dog photo with a recipe? Please don’t tell me if it isn’t.)

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Lemon~Orange Curd Ice Cream

When the Sweet Tooth Fairy needs appeasing, a cool dish of Lemon~Orange Curd Ice Cream may do the trick. Made from Lemon~Orange Curd and cream, it has a delightful citrus tang tempered by the mellow cream and it is not too sweet. Making this ice cream turned out to be one more opportunity to use our home grown, organic oranges before their season ends.

ButterYum gave me this idea, and it seemed like the best thing to make when I had extra curd. If you are looking for more great recipes, check out her blog.

Lemon~Orange Curd
makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
3 eggs
12 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 pinches of salt

Mix all ingredients in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cook, continuing to stir. Do not allow curd to boil. If it starts to sputter, briefly remove from heat. Curd is done when it becomes thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.

Press plastic wrap on the surface of the curd and refrigerate. Extra curd is a wonderful topping on toast.

To make ice cream, whisk together equal amounts of very cold curd and cream. (I used 1 1/2 cups of each, saving 1/2 cup of curd for morning toast.) Spoon into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

I was somewhat distracted by the sight of all that lovely ice cream in front of me and forgot to take a photo of scooping ice cream out of the ice cream maker. This wasn’t the first time I have forgotten to take photos for the blog when seeing a tempting dish in front of me, and it won’t be the last. It wasn’t too complicated and I know you can visualize what was happening.

If you wish,  garnish the Lemon~Orange Curd Ice Cream with orange zest.


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Sardines and Guacamole for Lunch?

This combination of sardines and guacamole works, provided you like sardines (I do) and you have an avocado in the house (I did).  I made a quick little guacamole, using half an avocado, a bit of minced onion, finely chopped tomato and a splash of bottled hot sauce. If you are like me, you will want to add some salt.

Spread this on thinly sliced bread, crackers or pita bread. In the now scraped out guacamole bowl, mash a tin of sardines with olive oil. Spread this on the guacamole and chow down.

Sardines, a nutritional powerhouse, are found on most “Super Food” lists, and avocados are an excellent source of healthy oils. Take care of yourself.

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Baby Beets with Greens and Orange Juice

Baby beets and their greens steamed with freshly squeezed orange juice

1 lb. (1/2 k.) baby beets with their greens
juice of 1 large or 2 small oranges
butter or olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash beets and greens, cutting off root end and stems. Save the leaves. Thinly slice beets from top to bottom. Leaves may be left whole or chopped.

Heat a large skillet, add beet slices, greens and orange juice and steam for 5-6 minutes.  If beets cook dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a pat of butter or drizzle with olive oil.

Notes: 


Baby beets do not need peeling. If you use large, mature beets, peel and cook until slices are tender. A pressure cooker cooks large beets quickly, in about 15 minutes.


Studies have found that the presence of oil or fat with food facilitates the absorption of nutrients. Try to include a touch of butter, olive oil or other oil with every meal.

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