Basic Brown Stock

This is a recipe for a basic brown stock, using bones and meat from just about any type of game or commercial meat animal or fish. Click here for a detailed treatise on stock.

To adjust the size of a stock recipe, the key factor is either the amount of bones you have on hand, or the size of your biggest pot. Start with those and work backwards.

Use a pot with at least twice the capacity of your water by volume, a bit bigger is even better. Moving a full pot is a potentially messy, unsafe hassle.

A slow cooker is a great tool for smaller quantities of stock.

If using a pressure cooker, add 50% when figuring the pot size because you should never fill a pressure cooker over 2/3 full.

Here is how your stock should look:

For venison or beef, Joints and marrow bones are best. Saw them into 2″ pieces or crack them using a clean hammer on a clean, hard surface (wear eye protection). Ribs are good too—just trim the meat from between them and set aside with the meat trimmings.

Don’t be shy about using already cooked bones or carcasses so long as the spices won’t interfere with how you plan to use the stock.

For fish stock use only non-oily fish. Use bones, heads, skin, and fins but remove gills. On large fish split the heads. Don’t worry about the scales.

Adding collagen-rich specialty items like calves foot or chicken feet gives a richer texture to the stock. Achilles tendon from deer (or beef) is excellent too. If you are short on connective tissue or are using already cooked bones (like a roast turkey carcass) you may consider adding powdered unflavored gelatin to build body.

This recipe holds back the parsley tops and half the aromatics until near the end of the cook. This mixes some brighter, fresher notes in with the deeper flavors of the longer cook.

Click here for a detailed treatise on stock

Print Recipe
Basic Brown Stock BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Course Prep
Cuisine Adaptable, All
Servings
lbs Bones
Ingredients
Bone and meat
Mirepoix (aromatics)
  • 2 cups onion - rough chopped, skin on is fine (can substitute leeks)
  • 1 cup celery - rough chopped, leaves are OK
  • 1 cup carrots - unpeeled, rough chopped
Liquid and Pot Size
  • 6 quarts cold water - at least enough to cover the bones
  • 2 cups wine - light red for bones from red meats, dry white for poultry or fish
  • 12 quarts Minimum pot size - add 50% for pressure cooker
Flavorings
Course Prep
Cuisine Adaptable, All
Servings
lbs Bones
Ingredients
Bone and meat
Mirepoix (aromatics)
  • 2 cups onion - rough chopped, skin on is fine (can substitute leeks)
  • 1 cup celery - rough chopped, leaves are OK
  • 1 cup carrots - unpeeled, rough chopped
Liquid and Pot Size
  • 6 quarts cold water - at least enough to cover the bones
  • 2 cups wine - light red for bones from red meats, dry white for poultry or fish
  • 12 quarts Minimum pot size - add 50% for pressure cooker
Flavorings
Instructions
Roasting
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Brush bones with olive oil to encourage browning.
  3. Place bones on a rack or grate in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, spread so they all brown. Use 2 pans if needed. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, turning once or twice.

    Often during this first step the roasting smell is slightly unpleasant. Don't worry - it will get better, and the smell is not a clue that the bones have a problem. It will go away -- ignore it.
  4. Brush bones with tomato paste. Use it all up. (skip the tomato paste for fish and poultry)
  5. Leaving room for the bones to keep browning, add the meat scraps and about half the mirepox to the oven. Use another pan if need be.
  6. Roast 30 more minutes then remove pans from oven and let cool a few minutes.
Main Process
  1. Move everything from the pans into the pot. If there are any browned bits stuck on the pans, deglaze them with the red wine and mix into the pot. Don't skip this step, there's great flavor there.
  2. Add the wine and all flavorings except the parsley tops (do add the stems).
  3. If using pressure cooker or making fish stock, add the remaining mirepoix to the pot now.
  4. Add cold water to cover everything, cover and turn the heat high.
  5. If using a pressure cooker:, If you insist on skimming the schmutz, bring it to a boil first and skim away. Then seal it up and bring to 15lbs pressure. Reduce the heat to just hold 15lbs. Cook 4 hours for beef/venison bones, 1 hour for poultry, 20 minutes for fish. Turn off heat, let cool at least 20 minutes and ensure the pressure is gone before attempting to open. Read the directions on your cooker for how to safely open.
  6. If using a stock pot, bring just to a boil than turn down to a very slow simmer, covered. Cook 2-4 hours for poultry, 1 hour for fish. For bones from red meats, opinions vary. 8-24 hours seems typical. I like 36 if it's furnace weather. Some call for as long as 48.
  7. Especially early in the process, unappetizing stuff floats to the top. Skim it off if you like, but some (like me) argue it doesn't hurt anything. Anecdotal evidence suggests fish stock might be an exception.
  8. Optional oven finish: for long cooking stocks move covered pot to a 190°F oven after it first comes to a boil. This saves the hassle of adjusting a burner for a slow simmer, and frees up the stove. Check the stock temp hourly and adjust your oven if needed until you are confident the stock is settled in somewhere around 190°F. Many ovens have an automatic 12 hour shutoff, so you should turn it off then back on before you go to bed if letting it go overnight. And then again when you get up. Click here for more detail.
  9. For poultry or red meat stocks in a stockpot, with 1 hour to go toss in the remaining mirepoix.
  10. For any stockpot stock, toss the parsley tops in with about 10 minutes to go.

    For any pressure cooker stock, toss the parsley tops in as soon as you open the lid after the pressure is gone, mix gently and let sit about 10 minutes.
After it's cooked (the first 3 steps should happen without delay)
  1. Remove from heat, remove large items to a colander over a bowl to catch drippings. Discard solids unless saving for Remoullaige (a second use - I never bother). Don't give the bones to your dogs - they have become very brittle. Meat scraps are fine.
  2. Filter out the remaining solids using cheesecloth, muslin, old clean t-shirts, a chinois, etc., whatever you have handy. Ladle through the filter into another pot. How well you filter it is a matter of taste but you sure don't want to keep any bone bits. Press or squeeze out and save all the liquid you can before discarding the captured stuff.
  3. Optional: Salt to taste. Go easy because a common use for stock is as a substitute for water in a recipe.  If the stock is salted you'll need to adjust salt in the recipe.  Most expect stock to be unsalted or "low sodium".  Never add salt if you plan to reduce the stock into a demi glace or meat glaze.  One advantage is that salt buys a little more shelf life in the fridge.
  4. Chill the pot quickly to at least room temp, then move to the refrigerator to chill overnight. The initial fast chill can be done by setting the pot in a sink with cold water, ice helps. So does stirring the pot, and keeping the cold water bath moving also. The danger zone for food is 40-140°F. You don't want food you intend to store for later use to spend much time in that range. Good job, now you can relax.
  5. After fully chilled, remove any fat solidified on top. Toss it, or mix it with seeds for bird feeder suet. Chicken or beef fat can also be saved for later use in a sautee pan. Now is the time to evaluate your stock for body - it should be gelatinous. Watch the video at the top to see how it should look.
  6. Optional: If not as gelatinous as you want, warm up the stock. Per quart add 1 packet of unflavored gelatin first softened in 1/4 cup cold water.
  7. Optional: Clarify. Google “egg raft”.  Leaves a crystal clear liquid - neccesary for consommé, aspic or any soup which should be very clear. Another benefit is you have to deal with the yolks.  Om nom nom nom.
  8. Good for 4 days in the fridge. For long term storage pressure can or freeze.
Recipe Notes

Here's a great thing to do with a quart of your stock.

View online: http://KillerNoms.com/brownstock

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