5 Basic Beef Stock Recipes To Complete Your Stock Making Repertoire

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Learn a basic beef stock to complete your stock-making repertoire

Chinese soup stocks are commonly made from pork bones or chicken carcass. But beef bones are also good for stock.

The Chinese usually parboil meats and bones used in soups. This practice is also used for making stocks. The main reason for parboiling bones is that bones may have blood in them. By parboiling the bones for a few minutes, especially with some ginger can remove any unpleasant flavour. 

Browning, borrowed from the West, is another technique to achieve the same results. It also adds more flavour. It is no wonder that beef stock is also known as brown stock in the West. If you have an oven, you might want to try that. 

Common aromatics paired with beef bones in stock making include cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns, coriander and more.

Beef Broth Tips

With other bone broths, parboiling remove most of the scum so by the time you start cooking the bones, the stock will have little scum to remove. With beef broth, parboiling only remove some of the scum. The broth will still contain scum and they need to remove them because leaving them in will affect the flavour. Most recipes instruct to scoop the scum up. I find it is easier to strain the stock when it is cooled instead. 

Another tip is to add a splash of white wine vinegar to the bone broth helps the calcium in the bones to leach out quicker, making the soup more nutritious. 

Beef broth is fatty. You can chill the soup to firm up the fats for easier removal. If you are on a ketogenic diet, then leave it in to up the fat count. 

Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker?

Some recipes I come across recommend using the pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process. That's a good idea if you have one at home. 

The other school recommends going slow by using the slow cooker. Some recipes recommend cooking for up to 2 days. That's really long. 

Both approaches are fine. It depends on your preference and whether you have the equipment. 

I do recommend that if you intend to go slow, only add bones and spices. Nothing else. I can't face mushy vegetables. 

Beef bones do take some time to cook down. The recipes here take mostly 4 hours. 

Beef Stock Recipes

Recipe 1. A beef stock light and milky

This recipe produces a light soup base. The stock may become milky because of the calcium from the bones.

Ingredients

  • 3 kg beef bones
  • 1 kg beef
  • 10 litres of water
  • 200g ginger
  • 2 stalks of spring onions
  • 10g cinnamon

Directions

  1. Wash the beef bones and meat
  2. Parboil the beef bones and meat. Trim off any fats
  3. Bring the water to a boil
  4. Place the beef bones and meat at the bottom of the pot with the ginger and spring onion
  5. Bring the water back to a boil
  6. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 4 hours 
  7. Remove the ingredients and strain the beef soup stock
  8. Use it as you like or store it for later use

Recipe 2. Baked beef stock recipe

This recipe produces a brown stock with a strong flavor and dark colour because the beef bones and vegetables are baked first. Strictly speaking, this isn’t a Chinese recipe but if you do have an oven at home, why not give it a try?

Ingredients

  • 1 kg beef bones
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 radish
  • 2 stalk celery
  • 5 litres water
  • 1/2 cup cooking wine

Directions

  1. Rinse the beef bones
  2. Wash and cut the onion, carrot, radish, and celery into big chunks
  3. Lay the cut vegetables on a baking sheet or tray
  4. Place the beef bones on top of the vegetables
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Bring water to a boil in a big stock pot
  8. Add the baked vegetables and beef
  9. Bring the water back to a boil
  10. Lower the heat to a slow simmer, and cook for 4 hours
  11. Remove the ingredients and strain
  12. Use it as you like or store it for later use

Recipe 3. Aromatic beef stock recipe

This recipe produces a clear spicy aromatic beef broth because of the star anises and peppercorns.

Ingredients

  • 500g beef bones
  • 600g beef
  • 4 slices of old ginger
  • 1 stalk of spring onion
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ml cooking wine
  • 1 litre of water

Directions

  1. Wash and parboil the beef bones and beef
  2. Add everything into a stock pot
  3. Add water
  4. Bring water to a boil
  5. Simmer for 4 hours
  6. Strain for use

Recipe 4. Beef and preserved bean paste stock

This beef stock is best used for as a soup base for braised beef noodle soup. The baking, frying and use of preserved bean paste 豆瓣酱 (dou ban jiang) produces a very dark stock.

Ingredients

  • 600g beef bones
  • 600g beef tendons
  • 20ml cooking oil
  • 30g minced ginger
  • 30g minced garlic
  • 2 litres water
  • 10ml cooking wine

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius
  2. Bake the beef bones for about 30 minutes
  3. Parboil the beef tendons
  4. Heat the cooking oil in a wok, fry the minced ginger, garlic and preserved bean paste
  5. Add the beef tendons and fry for a minute
  6. Add everything including the rest of the seasonings into a big stock pot
  7. Simmer on low heat for 2 hours
  8. Strain for use

Recipe 5. Peppery beef stock

This beef stock uses a large quantity of peppercorns and coriander stems. It makes the stock more aromatic. 

Ingredients

  • 600g beef
  • 1 kg beef bones
  • 200ml cooking wine
  • 200g peppercorn
  • 300g coriander stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 litres of water

Directions

  1. Parboil the beef and beef bones
  2. Place them in a stock pot and add water, cooking wine, peppercorn, coriander stems
  3. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 4 hours
  4. Add salt to taste

Storing Stocks

It is usually a good idea to make a huge batch of soup stock at one go. Stock making takes up considerable time and the stock can be frozen for later use. Frozen stock can be stored up to 2 months.

Here's how you prepare stock for storing. When the stock has cooled, measure out the amount you need for your family needs and freeze them separately in ziplock bags. Freeze them lying flat in baking trays to make it easier to thaw later. You can also use a marker to put down the dates of "production".

Take one or two bags out, thaw by putting them in warm water. If you are not sure of the amount you may need each time, freeze smaller packs. It is easier to use 2 or 3 smaller packs than try to re-freeze un-used soup stock.

Someone asked me where they can buy beef bones. The local supermarkets in Singapore seldom carry beef bones. It would be more likely found at the local wet markets. Let me know if you know of any other places that sell them.

Finally,

There has been an increase interest in bone broth. It seems that it has a myriad of health benefits like anti-inflammation, repair joints, helps leaky guts and arthritis.

I don't know if all of these are true. I hope so. 

What I do know is, the Chinese kitchen is seldom with a soup stock, and that's usually a broth made from bones. 

Happy Souping, Phoebe

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