NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
Many stores or butcher shops have beef marrow bones on the cheap, which make a dense and highly nutritious stock and excellent soup base. Although I’ve made my own stock using oxtails I’ve been wanting to try my hand at other soups, so marrow bones seemed like the best starting spot.
Before we dive into this recipe, let’s have a quick culinary lesson. “Stock” refers to a liquid that’s made from simmering bones, and “broth” is made from meat. You can use both, and as far as I know that’s still referred to as “stock”. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s make some food.
You’ll need: 4-5 lbs beef marrow bones, 8 garlic cloves, 3 chopped carrots (or 12 baby carrots), 2 chopped stalks of celery, 2 tsp coconut oil, 10 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, some fresh parsley
I should note that we were out of celery when making this recipe, so I’m lacking in that department. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and place the bones, garlic and veggies in a roasting pan that’s lined with the coconut oil. Roast the bones in the oven for about 45 minutes, flipping the bones after about 30 minutes.
Take the nicely-browned chunks and add them to a pot. If there are any pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan (there’s shouldn’t be, thanks to the coconut oil), scrape them up and add them to the pot.
Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and parsley. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the bones with an inch of water. Bring the stove to medium heat.
When the water shows its first signs of starting to boil, reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for at least 6 hours without stirring. The longer you simmer, the more potent and reduced your stock will be – you can even simmer it for 24 hours if you’d like. You don’t want to bring it to a boil at any time – a slow simmer is best.
Take a different pot and place a colander over it, and then a cheese cloth over the colander. Pour everything into the colander and let it drain for 10 minutes.
You should get a clear, beautiful beef stock. Pour it into some mason jars and let it cool before putting it in the fridge.
As a word of warning, straight bone stock smells and tastes unlike what you might expect. This is normal, and your soups will still turn out great. If you want a more traditional, “beefy” taste from the outset, you can add some beef chunks with the bones.