Beef stock

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December 26, 2007

Makes about 4 quarts

4 pounds raw beef bones, cut into 3-inch pieces (ask the butcher to do this if necessary)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
6 quarts of cold water, or more as needed
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
5 whole peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 plum tomatoes, halved

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, place the beef bones and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the onions, carrots, and celery with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the vegetables to the pan and continue roasting for about 20 minutes, or until the bones have turned dark brown.

3. Transfer the pan contents to a large stockpot; set aside.

4. Place the pan on a burner over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups of water. Cook, stirring constantly, scraping the browned bits on the bottom. Tip this liquid into the stockpot. Add the garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, and tomatoes. Set over medium-high heat. Add enough water to cover the bones.

5. Bring the stock to a simmer (do not let it boil), skimming off the scum as it accumulates. Set the cover on askew and continue simmering and skimming for up to 5 hours, covering the bones with hot water as the liquid in the pot evaporates.

6. Set a colander over a large bowl. Strain the stock and discard the bones and vegetables. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Ladle into containers and leave to cool. Refrigerate until the stock is cold and the fat solidifies on top. Discard the fat. Refrigerate the stock for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 4 months. - Leigh Belanger

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