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 amount of bones you have 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 your pot is 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 might clash with how you plan to use the stock.

For fish stock use only white-fleshed non-oily fish. Use bones, heads, skin, and fins — but remove gills. Give the skin a good rinse and wipe, but don’t worry about scales. On large fish split the heads.

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 work great. Just blanch, chill, peel, and pop off the nails first. It’s easy. Achilles tendon from deer (or beef) is excellent too — but only use if clean. They can get grungy if used to drag or hang the deer. If you are short on connective tissue or are using already cooked bones (like a roast turkey carcass) consider adding powdered unflavored gelatin to improve body.

This recipe reserves the parsley tops and half the aromatics until near the end of the cook — which adds brighter, fresher notes to the deeper flavors of the longer cook.

  Note: To adjust the size of any stock recipe the limiting factor is either the amount of bones and meat you have on hand, or the size of the stock pot. Start with that and work backwards, sticking near the following ratios:

  • 3/2 water to bones by weight. (Water: 1 quart = 2 lbs)
  • 6/1 water to mirepoix by volume, e.g 6 quarts water, 1 quart (4 cups) mirepoix.
  • Mirepoix: 2/1/1 Onion/Carrot/Celery
 
Print Recipe
Basic Brown Stock Yum
Course Prep
Cuisine Adaptable, All
Servings
lbs Bones
Ingredients
Bone and meat
Mirepoix (aromatics)
  • 2 cups yellow onion — rough chopped, skin on is fine (can substitute leeks)
  • 1 cup celery — rough chopped, leaves are OK
  • 1 cup carrots — scrubbed but 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 yellow onion — rough chopped, skin on is fine (can substitute leeks)
  • 1 cup celery — rough chopped, leaves are OK
  • 1 cup carrots — scrubbed but 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 1 hour, turning once or twice.

    At first the roasting bone smell is sometimes slightly unpleasant. Don't worry -it does not indicate a problem. It goes away — ignore it.
  3. Add a little olive oil to the mirepoix and meat scraps and mix/toss.
  4. Brush bones with tomato paste. Use it all up. (skip the tomato paste if making fish or poultry stock). Add the oiled meat scraps and mirepox to the oven — using another pan if need be.
  5. Roast 30 more minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.
Main Process
  1. Move everything from the roasting pans into the pot. If there are any browned bits stuck on the pans deglaze them with the red wine and mix in. Don't skip this step, there's great flavor there!
  2. Add the wine, parsley stems and all remaining ingredients except the parsley tops and reserved mirepoix.
  3. If making fish stock, add the reserved mirepoix to the pot now.
  4. Add cold water to cover everything, add lid, then bring to a slow simmer. You can use medium to heat to get it there, but watch carefully and do not let it come to a full boil. And no stirring — ever!
  5. Cook 6-24 hours for poultry, 1-2 hours for fish. For bones from red meats, 12-48 hours (I favor 36 hours). If leaving unattended overnight, especially over a gas range, for safety you should opt for the oven-finish (details below).
  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: carefully move the covered stockpot 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, and again mid-day if you're going for a long cook.
  8. 1 hour before finish, add the reserved mirepoix. Get it submerged by poking it down or gently mixing near the surface, but don't aggressively mix.
  9. 10 minutes before finish, toss in the parsley tops whole, don't chop. Same routine on mixing.

Process and store
  1. Remove from heat. The next steps until placed in the refrigerator should be taken without delay.
  2. 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. 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: (this step can be taken later if it is not convenient to do so now) Reduce the stock to make demi glace or glace de viande (meat glaze).
  4. Optional: Salt to taste. Go easy, because most recipes expect the stock to be unsalted.  Never add salt if you plan to reduce the stock.  One advantage of salt is that it buys a little more shelf life in the fridge.
  5. Chill the pot quickly to at least room temp. The initial fast chill can be done by setting the pot in an ice bath in the sink. Stirring the pot, and keeping the cold water bath moving speeds things up.
  6. After cooled to at least room temp, move to the refrigerator. The next day remove any fat solidified on top. Discard it, or mix it with seeds for bird feeder suet. Evaluate your stock for body — watch the video at the top to see how it should look.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Good up to 4 days in the fridge. Freezes forever. See KillerNoms.com/WildGameStock.php#storage for details on storage.
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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