Listener ?: Stocks and soups
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I received an email from Anna inquiring about making beef stock from soup bones.   I appreciate her willingness to make stock from scratch. Even though there is an abundance of different forms of beef (or chicken/turkey/vegetable) stock on the market, there is a richer, meatier/veggie flavor to homemade vs. commercial stocks that produce a purer, more flavorful soup compared to any of those that you can buy at the grocery!

Though it does take time (most of it unattended) to make a high quality, great tasting stock, the benefits outweigh the effort because you control the salt, the fat content and the additives.

The two different types of soup bones that the butcher provides have similar uses but different preparation methods:

The small bones with a large quantity of meat left on the bone are for making soup: simply sear the bone in a little olive oil on both sides, add water and simmer for a couple of hours.  Remove the bone, shred the meat and you have a great beef soup base. This method may or may not produce a gelatinous broth. Season the broth to taste as you make your soup.

The bones with little or no meat left on the bone are for making stock:  roast 4 # beef bones for 2 hours, adding 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 chopped onions and 1 small can tomato paste after 1 hour.  The quantity of veggies and paste aren’t overly important- leftover peels and leaves work well (keep a bag in the freezer of your veggie scraps until needed).  Place roasted bones, veggies, some whole peppercorns and a handful of fresh parsley sprigs (stems included) in a stock pot and cover with water and simmer for up to 8 hours (minimum of 4), re-adding water to keep the bones covered.  Strain, discarding bones and veggies.  Cool stock overnight, remove the hardened fat and you should have a rich, full flavored, unsalted, gelatinous stock ready for soups and sauces.

A couple of quick soup ideas: 

  1. Onion soup- in a medium sized sauce pan, lightly brown 4 onions and 1 tsp minced garlic in a little olive oil.  Add 2 qts. homemade beef stock, season with salt and pepper and fresh chopped parsley. Ladle into oven proof bowls, top with a thick slice of crusty bread and shredded Swiss cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve with a fresh salad.
  2. Cheese soup- in a medium sized pan, sauté ½ c finely chopped onion for 2 minutes.  Add 2 qts. homemade beef stock, bring to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in 4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Season with salt and pepper and fresh chopped chives. Be careful not to bring to a boil once the cheese has been added or the soup will break (the cheese will separate from the broth and become a big blob stuck to your spoon). Serve with whole grain crackers.
  3. Potato soup- simmer 2 # scrubbed, unpeeled Yukon or red potatoes and 1 tsp minced garlic in 2 qts. homemade beef stock.  Leave chunky, lightly mash for smashed potato soup or puree smooth in a food processor or blender.  Season with salt and pepper and fresh chopped rosemary, sage and/or thyme.  Serve with cheese cubes and fresh fruit.
  4. Pizza soup- combine 2 qts. homemade beef stock with 1 qt. pizza sauce, 3 c chopped veggie pizza toppings of your choice (i.e. onion, mushrooms, peppers, black olives, etc.) and 2 c cooked ground/diced meat of your choice (sausage, hamburger, ham, etc.).  Simmer until veggies are cooked, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ c fresh pesto.  Serve with crusty bread.



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