Homemade Beef Stock Flavorbombs

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Homemade stock is an incredible way to enrich the flavor of your recipes. It's way better than store bought stock, and so rewarding to make.  My aunt taught me how years ago— we both love to cook and she wrote out her chicken stock recipe for me and told me it was the perfect thing to do on a rainy weekend day. She's absolutely right. For all of you who love to cook, this makes a cold, rainy day so much fun. It's a great thing to do in the fall so that you can use the stock (or in my case, flavorbombs), in all kinds of hearty fall and winter dishes.Because it takes pretty much all day, and a little attention,  a rainy day at home really is the perfect chance to do this. When I make stock,  I feel like the ultimate domestic goddess (HA!)... making the time-consuming stock, filling the house with the delicious smell of it all day, and preparing it for the freezer for future use in recipes. Though it may take some time, it's not difficult, and if you make these flavorbombs, you'll have little frozen concentrated doses to use for months to enrich your cooking. Read on for more...

Why flavorbombs? Why not just use the stock as-is or freeze in portions as-is?You certainly can do that. However, with flavorbombs, as you'll see in this recipe, we'll reduce the stock way down for a more concentrated flavor, and freeze them in ice cube trays for single use. These little flavorbombs will be the perfect way to inject amazing flavor into soups, stews, risottos, and all kinds of other recipes for months to come.

You can also use this recipe to make other kinds of stock flavorbombs, like chicken or turkey, for example. (The cooking time would likely be different for roasting poultry bones, but you can tinker with that and adjust as necessary.)

Beef Stock Flavorbombs Recipe

​• 4-5 lbs beef stock bones
• 1 lb beef: stew meat, flank steak, or even beef scraps. Cut into 2-3 inch chunks
​• 3 large carrots, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
• 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
• 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
• 3 cloves garlic
​• 2 bay leaves
• 1 big handful of parsley, stems and leaves
• 10 peppercorns
​• olive oil

*Not an actual ingredient, but I feel it's worth noting in case you don't have one: you will need a way to strain the stock. A fine mesh sieve is best and you can buy them inexpensively at most grocery stores while you're buying the ingredients for this recipe.
Instructions:• Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and/or prepare all of the ingredients above. ​

​• Rub the stew meat, carrots, and onions with olive oil. Place them, as well as the beef bones in a large roasting pan.
• Roast for approximately 45 minutes, watching to make sure the bones aren't charring. (We want them to brown nicely, but  not char.) If they start to char, reduce the heat. About halfway through, turn the bones and the meat over.• When the meat and bones are beautifully browned, place them along with the carrots and onions in a large stock pot.

• Place the roasting pan on the stovetop across two burners on low heat. Add a cup or so of hot water and using a spatula (I use a wooden one), scrape up all the yummy stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan. These will lend lots of flavor to the stock. When you've gotten them all loosened, pour all of it into the stock pot.

• Add the celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley to the stock pot. Fill the stock pot with cold water— enough to cover all of the ingredients by about 2 inches. Turn the heat up high to bring this to a soft simmer, then turn the heat down to low.

• Now we need to manage the temperature. Keep it at a very slight simmer, with just a few bubbles appearing. Or, you can use a meat thermometer, making sure the temperature doesn't quite get to boiling (which is 212 degrees). Try for the range of 190-200 degrees, or as I said, just a very low simmer. When you've gotten the temperature regulated, cover the pot loosely and let it simmer for 4-8 hours. While it's simmering, do not stir. Stirring will mix all of the fat into the stock. Instead, we want the fat to separate and float to the top so that we can skim it off.• Check the simmer from time to time to make sure it's not getting too hot. As time goes by, fat will start to float to the top (see photo below). You can periodically skim the fat off with a spoon and discard. I keep a small bowl beside the stock pot and discard the fat in it. After I'm done with the stock, and the fat has cooled, I just empty it in the trash. (Don't wash it down your sink, or you're asking for plumbing trouble.)

​• When it's done cooking (4-8 hours, whatever you have time for), use a slotted spoon to remove all of the solids (meat, bones, veggies, etc.) from the stock pot and discard.• Get out another large pot and a fine mesh sieve, and pour the stock through the sieve into the large pot to strain it. It should now be a beautiful, relatively clear stock...

• Let the strained stock come to room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator.• Once it's chilled, you'll notice the fat has risen to the top and solidified. Remove the fat and dispose of it. When you remove the layer of fat, it reveals your delicious stock, which should have a gelatin-like texture.

[**If you want to simply use the stock as-is, then it's now ready to use  or freeze.]• To make flavorbombs, return the stock (chilled, and solid fat removed) to the stovetop and bring it to a gentle simmer. Let it gently simmer until it reduces down to about 1/3 of the volume of the strained stock. You can taste it along and along and notice how the flavor is coming along. When the flavor has intensified and the stock is greatly reduced, remove from heat and let it come to room temperature. ​

• Ladle the room temperature reduced stock into plastic ice cube trays and place flat in the freezer to freeze overnight. Here's mine (below), frozen!

​• Once they are frozen, pop them out of the ice cube trays and into whatever container you'll keep them in while in the freezer.
• Use 1-2 flavorbombs in soups, stews, sauces, rice, risottos, ramen, gravy, gumbo, or however you so get inspired!
​Love and Light.
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