Beef Stock

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by gbhunter, May 21, 2006.

  1. gbhunter

    gbhunter

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    11
    I made beef stock from bone, did all the proper skimming and added the proper ingredients. After the stock cooled it turned into jello, which i was told is a good sign. I am currently making French Onion soup, and after re-heating the stock, and adding all my ingredients, the stock tastes watery. Help please!! Am i doing something wrong??
     
  2. deltadoc

    deltadoc

    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    12
    It is kind of hard to imagine what you're doing, but the way I make French Onion Soup, is to first melt some clarified butter in a heavy pot, and carmelize about 7 cups of Vadalia or sweet onion that have been sliced. Once they've sweated and are turning slightly brown I had some finely diced garlic (not too much), and continue to brown. Then I add about 1 tsp of sugar to help the carmelization along.

    Before they start turning black or anything, I deglaze the pan with some red wine, like Burgundy, about 1/2 cup or so.

    I continue heating until most of the wine is no longer liquidy. Then I add a bay leaf, some fresh chopped thyme, and a little S&P. Stir that up good, and then I add the stock. I continue to simmer the stock, and finish with a couple of egg yolks (Stir the egg yolks in a small dish, add a ladle of hot stock, stir again, and then add to the pot) along with some Cognac.

    Then I finalize the S&P until it tastes just right.

    So, in essence the stock is the last thing I put in the pot, not one of the first.

    doc
     
  3. greasechef

    greasechef

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Now that you have your good beef jello, without a little salt, or more reduction, it will be a little watery. I salt my stock with beef base, the basic commercial kind. It may be cheating, but it works well.

    When I have time, I make my French onion soup with equals amount of Beef, Pork, and Veal bones. I rub them lightly with watery tomato paste, then give them a good roasting in the oven. When that is done, I boil and skim just like you have already done. This makes the best French Onion Soup Stock I've ever had. Oh, and don't forget the trinity (Carrot, Onion & celery)

    As for the onion, I never use sugar, instead I cook the sliced onions in a covered pot on VERY low heat for many hours, usually about eight.

    Toss the stock and the onions together, and you've got a great soup.
     
  4. suzanne

    suzanne

    Messages:
    3,853
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Food Editor
    The short answer is: no, you're not doing anything wrong. But you might have neglected to do one thing that would have told you if the flavor was strong enough. The next time you make stock, be sure to taste it before you chill it! That way you'll know if it needs to be cooked down more to concentrate the flavor.

    Flavor is a different aspect from gelling power, which sounds fine in your case. It's possible to make a stock that will gel really well, but not have much flavor. :cry: But it's easily fixed by just boiling down -- concentrating -- the stock.

    And if you really want to get crazy, look for the thread here on maximum collagen extraction. We had quite a debate about that a while ago. :lol:
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,743
    Likes Received:
    346
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    You may want to use some meaty bones to make your stock, and when you taste stock, taste it plain first, then taste it with some salt.
     
  6. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Deltadoc...I'll be trying that recipe...thanks :) How much stock do you use for the 7 cups of Vadalia's?

    thanks,
    dan
     
  7. deltadoc

    deltadoc

    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    12
    The amount of stock I use is until it looks "about right". Depends on how much onion to stock ratio you want. I tend to like mine with more onion than less, so I tend to use a little bit less stock.

    As far as tasting your stock, I don't find that really necessary unless you're looking to reduce it for other reasons. In particular I never salt the stock, and the only pepper I use is whole pepper in a Bouquet Garni or Sachet d'spice while making the stock. One should always S&P the sauce that the stock is being used in. That way your stock remains universally acceptable for any use you might want to put it to. (Try making rice with stock instead of water!)

    For flavoring reasons, I just do a "Glace de Viande" which is a 90% reduction of basic brown stock, done slowly. You will get a very rubbery product but a teaspoon or TBSP of that will do wonders for any sauce base that you find appropriate.

    For help in doing stocks, I take my wooden spoons, and I file really good "notches" on them. One notch for 18 Qt, a notch for 6 qts., one for 3 and one for 1/2 Qt. That way, I know how much I have reduced my stocks, or how much water to add initially (18Qts.).

    doc
     
  8. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Brilliant! I'm going to try this, DeltaDoc.
     
  9. blade55440

    blade55440

    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    When making stock I remember one piece of advice that my instructor told me in class one day:

    (she was discussing chicken stock this day)
    "If you taste stock, it should taste like a chicken ran through it. You don't want it to be like soup, just a slight amount of the title flavor in it."
     
  10. bigwheel

    bigwheel

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    Well that chicken running through it comment got me thinking of Minor's Chicken Soup Base I been playing around with here lately. Swear that stuff taste like it got chicken feathers in it. Will make a person highly gassy and aromatic of dead chickens. Now do that be good or bad? Thanks.

    bigwheel
     
  11. jonk

    jonk

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Beef stock needs a surprisingly large amount of beef to give it a true beefy flavor. Bones provide the basic body (the gelatin that's thickening the stock), but you really need meat. Some writers argue that you need as much as six pounds of something like beef shanks to make just two quarts of a rich stock. Aromatic vegetables can make up for some of the beef if you're wiling to settle for a stock with strong vegetative undertones. As mentioned in early posts, a bit of high quality beef base can also pump up the flavor, but too much gives that distinctly "bullion cube" taste. Another trick is to substitute some chicken parts for the beef (backs, necks, and wingtips are cheap and do fine). Chicken produces a much stronger flavored broth than beef, and as long as you don't overdo can provide a meaty base on which to build the beef flavor. (Remember, chicken flavors are strong.) In part this is because chicken fat tastes like chicken, but beef fat (tallow) doesn't taste like much at all. A little bit of red wine can also act as a flavor enhancer.
     
  12. blade55440

    blade55440

    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I know this is a stupid question, but um...did you roast the bones before you used them in the stock?
     
  13. jonk

    jonk

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Not a stupid question at all.

    For a brown beef stock, which is what most recipes want, you should brown the meaty bones in a 450 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Toss in some of the aromatic veggies as well. After you remove the bones, get rid of the fat, but remember to then deglaze the pan with water or a little wine.

    Another technique favored by some cooks is to brown the beef bones right in the stock pan, using a bit of oil. Then degrease and deglaze. Some people also follow this up by then sweating the meat for about 20 minutes over low heat whereupon you'll usually find that some nice brown juices are released. Then go ahead with making the stock in the same pan.

    Depending on your use, you may want to clarify the stock with egg white.

    My dear departed mother, with the admirable frugality that characterized those of middle European origin, used to make a kind of boiled beef dinner not dissimilar to its New England namesake. In those cases, she did not brown the meat, but we could depend on the broth from the boil appearing the next day as a soup--light colored and clear, usually served with added vegetables, noodles, and--I've never been able to reproduce these--tasty liver dumplings. Served with bread, it was a whole meal, and even the family's liver haters loved it. (Me--I love liver.) This broth lacked the strong, beefy flavors of the roasted meat recipes, but was quite nice in its own right.
     
  14. diane

    diane

    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    I don't think there is more interesting discussion than stocks and broths. My basic understanding is that stock was prepared mainly from roasted bones, and broth was made mainly from simmered meat. I may be right or left on this. Now Jonk tells us his mother used beef water for soup. What a waste otherwise. Wonderous, practical, yum. I have read on another site of using the corned beef poaching liquid for day after soup. I had tipped it before then, what a fool am I? It always seemed such a shame. And it was.

    Since I cannot leave anything alone, the ideas of intro'ed mirepoix and veg in general quite makes my soul sing. Roasted as well. And the addition of some sort of high flavoured meat, you know, the cheap cuts, could only make things better. Maybe we should call it stoth. Mrs Beeton, (my book is 1900) advises to stir the scum back into a beef tea or soup base because that is where the protein is. I always had heaved carrot and whathaveyou in, which I thought incorrect, which is PDS, since a stock is what you make it of.
     
  15. diane

    diane

    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    I don't think there is more interesting discussion than stocks and broths. My basic understanding is that stock was prepared mainly from roasted bones, and broth was made mainly from simmered meat. I may be right or left on this. Now Jonk tells us his mother used beef water for soup. What a waste otherwise. Wonderous, practical, yum. I have read on another site of using the corned beef poaching liquid for day after soup. I had tipped it before then, what a fool am I? It always seemed such a shame. And it was.

    Since I cannot leave anything alone, the ideas of intro'ed mirepoix and veg in general quite makes my soul sing. Roasted as well. And the addition of some sort of high flavoured meat, you know, the cheap cuts, could only make things better. Maybe we should call it stoth. Mrs Beeton, (my book is 1900) advises to stir the scum back into a beef tea or soup base because that is where the protein is. I always had heaved carrot and whathaveyou in, and thought it wrong, which is PDS, since a stock is what you make it of.
     
  16. diane

    diane

    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    So sorry, I did it twice, not sure how I managed that. Am sorry.
     
  17. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,925
    Likes Received:
    489
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Uhh, Diane, I wouldn't stir that scum back in. Scum is scum. It's the dead protein of the animal. No nutritional value, no taste value, gritty mouthfeel,100% garbage that breaks up into a zillion little pieces and makes your stock look like ****. Scoop it off and toss it into the garbage where it belongs.
     
  18. blade55440

    blade55440

    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I gotta agree with that part. Remove the scum before it gets stirred in or otherwise reincorporated into your stock.
     
  19. diane

    diane

    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Thank you good people. I never have stirred it back in, but have felt guilty about that. Now I feel no guilt at all. It looks even worse in the debris bowl than it does on the top. To the grease traps it goes.
     
  20. castironchef

    castironchef

    Messages:
    573
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    Also, after the veggies have given their all to the stock, they should get tossed.

    If you're going to serve veggies in the stock (e.g., soup), use fresh ones.