Beef Stock

This stock is based on the recipe from Heston Blumenthal at Home and is used in the main course of the New Year’s Eve 2012 dinner.  It takes a significant amount of time (over 4 hours) but you end up with 2kg worth so you can and should freeze it in Ziploc bags in 250ml or 500ml (about 1 or 2 cups) portions or future use.  It adds instant flavor to any beef dish you are making whether in a sauce, stir fry, or soup.  It tastes infinitely better than any of the stocks or bouillons you can find in the grocer.

Beef stock used in two different sauces for Prime Rib

Beef stock used in two different sauces for Prime Rib

Despite this being a 4 hour recipe the pressure cooker cuts down on the time significantly (think 8 hours otherwise).  The pressure cooker keeps the all the liquid and all the flavors encased in the pot so you don’t lose them through evaporation as in traditional stock making.  Additionally, in a pressure cooker the liquid reaches temperatures of nearly 250°F without coming to a boil.  This results in even greater depth of flavor being extracted from the components without the murkiness caused by a turbulent boil.

Ingredients – Makes 2kg

  • 1kg beef soup bones (ask your butcher for these; if he stares at you blankly; go somewhere else)
  • 350g oxtail (see above)
  • Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil – but grapeseed has less flavor so as to not dilute the beef flavor)
  • 1kg beef shanks
  • 500g peeled and finely sliced onion
  • 1 star anise
  • 500g peeled and finely sliced carrots
  • 375g red wine


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°F
  • Rub the soup bones and oxtail with oil and place in a roasting tray.  Cook for one hour at 375° turning every 20 min so they are golden brown on all sides
  • While the above is roasting, heat a thin layer of oil in the bottom of a pressure cooker over high heat.  Brown the shanks (in batches if necessary) until deeply browned on all sides.  Remove the meat from the pan and set aside
  • Pour a little water into the bottom of the pressure cooker (about 1/4 cup) and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom and sides.  Pour the liquid into the same dish that holds the browned beef shanks.
  • Heat another thin layer of oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Add the onions and star anise and cook, on medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions are caramelized (approximately 25 min).
  • Add the carrots and continue to cook until the carrots are soft and caramelized as well (about 20 min).
  • Add the red wine and boil until reduced to a very thin syrup (about 10 min)
  • Add the roasted beef soup bones and oxtail, the beef shanks and deglazing water, and 2kg of cold tap water.
  • Place the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 hours.
  • Remove the pressure cooker from heat and allow to cool completely and depressurize.
  • Remove the lid and strain the stock through a sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth.  Refrigerate overnight and then scrape the layer of congealed fat from the surface.  Refrigerate or freeze for later use.


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