Basic Brown Stock

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

The recipe size is limited by either the number of bones you have available or the size of your biggest pot. With 7lbs of bones it just fits in a 12 quart pot. Adjust the amount of bones in the field below, watching the “Minimum pot size” field in the “Liquid and Pot Size” ingredient section, to be sure you have a pot big enough.

Here is how your stock should look:

For good body, 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.

Cooked bones or carcasses are fine so long as they weren’t cooked with spices that could clash 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 items like calves foot or chicken feet gives a richer texture to the stock. Wild turkey feet, pheasant feet or duck/goose feet are great — just blanch, chill, peel, and pop off the nails first. 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) consider adding powdered unflavored gelatin to build body.

This recipe reserves 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.

Print Recipe
Basic Brown Stock 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 dry red for bones from red meats, dry white for poultry or fish
  • 12 quarts Minimum pot size
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 dry red for bones from red meats, dry white for poultry or fish
  • 12 quarts Minimum pot size
Flavorings
Instructions
Roasting
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread bones on a rack or grate in one or two roasting pans or rimmed baking sheets, with enough space so they all brown. Brush with olive oil. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

    Sometimes at first the roasting smell is slightly unpleasant. Don't worry - it will get better, and the smell does not indicate a problem. It goes away -- ignore it.
  3. Brush bones with tomato paste. Use it all up. (skip the tomato paste for fish and poultry). Add the meat scraps and half the mirepox to the oven. Use another pan if need be.
  4. Roast 30 more minutes then remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.
Main Process
  1. Move everything from the roasting pans into the stock 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 remaining ingredients except the parsley tops and reserved mirepoix. Do add the parsley stems.
  3. If 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 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, 12 hours plus. I favor 36 hours. Some call for as long as 48. If leaving unattended overnight, especially over a gas range, it may be safer to use the optional oven-finish.
  6. Early in the simmering process, unappetizing looking stuff sometimes floats to the top. Most recipes encourage you to skim it off, but some say don't bother. I never bother and it doesn't seem to hurt anything. Anecdotal evidence suggests fish stock might be an exception.
  7. Optional oven finish: move covered stock pot to a 190°F oven after it first starts to simmer. This saves the hassle of adjusting a burner for a consistent 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.
  8. With 1 hour to go toss in the reserved mirepoix.
  9. Toss the parsley tops in with about 10 minutes to go.

After it's cooked (the first 4 steps should happen without delay)
  1. Remove from heat, remove large items to a colander over a bowl to catch drippings. Don't give the bones to your dogs - they have become very brittle. Bone-free 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 solids.
  3. Optional: Salt to taste. Go easy because if the stock is salted you'll need to adjust salt when using it in a recipe.  Most recipes expect the 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 of salt is that it buys 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.
  5. After fully chilled, usually overnight, remove any fat solidified on top. Toss it, or mix it with seeds for bird feeder suet. Now is the time to evaluate your stock for body. 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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