Brown Stock, Oven Edition

Rich brown stock made from roasted beef bones and caramelized vegetables is a kitchen essential. Besides brown gravy and demi-glace it is the base for many soups, notably French onion. Granted, one can buy rather good beef stock in the supermarket—salt-free versions are becoming more commonplace—but making your own is easy and the result is better than store-bought. This recipe where the stock cooks overnight in the oven even relieves of having to hover over a stock pot for hours. And because the stock steeps at just below the boiling point instead of simmering, it comes out clear and is easy to de-fat. I portion the finished product into one-quart screw-top plastic containers and freeze it for several months.

Note: have your butcher cut the beef bones into piece 5 cm (2”) to 10 cm (4”) long; shorter is better.

Yield: about four quarts



Beef marrow bones

1.5 kilogram

6 pounds


1 kilogram

2 pounds

Tomato, diced**

225 grams

8 ounces

Cold water

6 liters

6 quarts

Herb sachet

See method

See method

*mirepoix consists of diced onion, carrot, and celery in 2:1:1 proportions

**in place of tomatoes you can use 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste, adding it to the cold water


Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Place the bones in a single layer in a roasting pan. Spread the mirepoix and tomatoes evenly in a second roasting pan. Place both into the hot oven turning the bones and stirring the vegetables from time to time.

After an hour remove the pans from oven. Transfer the bones to a large stock pot. Pour off all but a quarter cup of fat from the roasting pan that had the bones in it and move the vegetables into it. Place over two stovetop burners on medium-high heat. Stir until the vegetables are well caramelized but not burnt. Add the vegetables to the stockpot. Deglaze the pan(s) with part of the cold water and add to the pot along with the rest of the water.

Turn the oven down to 205°F (96°C).

Prepare a sachet by tying 2 bay leaves, 2 or 3 crushed garlic cloves, 2 sprigs fresh or ½ teaspoon (3 ml) dried thyme, 6 sprigs fresh or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried parsley, and 8 to 10 crushed black peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth (unless you have a giant tea ball, as I do) and add it to the stock. Bring the stock just to a boil and place the pot, uncovered, into the oven. Steep for eight to twelve hours but no more.

When the stock is done, strain it into a very large bowl. Clean out the stock pot then set bowl into your kitchen sink with the drain closed. Fill a small, deep saucepan with ice and water then place it into the stock. Run cold water into the sink to the depth of the stock in the bowl. Stir the water around to cool the stock as quickly as possible. The idea is to minimize the amount of time it spends in the danger zone between 140°F (60°C) and 40°F (5°C). Pour the cooled stock back into the stock pot and refrigerate. (Of course, in the winter you can just put the pot out into the snow!)

When well cooled, defat the stock and, if you like, strain it again, this time through cheese cloth. Dispense into suitable containers and freeze for up to several months.


One response to “Brown Stock, Oven Edition

  1. theeagertraveller February 15, 2013 at 23:29

    Sumptuous! Nothing beats a rick stock.

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