Beef stock

Beef stock

4 litres
Dean Cambray

This is the big one! It’s a rich, deep brown in colour, and full of beefy flavour. When reduced to make jus, it becomes thick and syrupy – the perfect base for a full-flavoured sauce.

When I’m making beef stock at home, I use water as the base, but at the restaurant we usually use chicken or veal stock, which give a more intense flavour. Most chefs use a combination of beef and veal bones to make a good beef stock, as the veal bones are rich in gelatine and give the stock body. Another good ‘cheffy’ trick is to add a split pig’s trotter to the stockpot with the beef bones. Trotters are especially full of gelatine, which enriches your stock and then gives your sauces a nice sheen. Alternatively, add 500 g chicken wing tips to the stock for the last 1½ hours, which will also add richness to the stock. And make sure you ask your butcher to find you good meaty bones, and get him to chop them up as much as he can.

It does take a long time to make a good beef stock, so it’s worth making a decent amount. You can always divide it into 500 ml batches and freeze it.


Quantity Ingredient
2kg meaty beef bones, chopped
2kg meaty veal bones, chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 pig’s trotter, split in half lengthwise, (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
handful mushroom stalks, (optional)
handful bacon rinds, (optional)
pinch salt
1/2 cup parsley leaves
3 sprigs thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Arrange the bones in a large roasting tin and roast for 5–10 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. Turn the bones around and scatter in the chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until it smells like Sunday dinner! You want everything to be a deep golden brown, but not black and burnt.
  3. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and tip the contents into a large stockpot or saucepan. Deglaze the roasting tin with a little water and add to the stockpot. Add the pig’s trotter and pour on enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil slowly and use a ladle to skim away the foam or other impurities that rise to the surface. When the stock boils, lower the heat and add all the remaining ingredients, except for the parsley and thyme. Simmer very gently for 6–8 hours, skimming away any foam from time to time. Top up with more cold water as necessary; the bones should always be completely covered with water.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and throw in the parsley and thyme. Leave it to sit for 20 minutes or so, to allow the sediment to settle and to freshen the flavour.
  5. Once the stock has cooled down a bit, there are two ways to strain it. For a more rustic style, simply pour it through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl. For a clearer, more refined stock, or if you’re making clear broths or consommés, carefully ladle the stock out of the pot into a fine sieve. Leave to cool completely, then remove any fat that sets on the surface.
  6. Divide the stock into batches and refrigerate or freeze. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 7 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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