The French word for stock, fond, literally translates to mean "foundation," and stock is clearly the foundation upon which fine soups, sauces, and stews are built.
Slow-simmered bones, vegetables, and herbs are the keys to creating a good stock. With each passing hour, they add more flavor to the stock and, in turn, the final product. Raw beef bones with some meat, such as shanks, necks, and shins, are good choices. Add richness and color to a stock by browning the bones and vegetables in the oven before simmering. After roasting, scrape the pan well, and add the scrapings to the stockpot. Then, deglaze the roasting pan with red wine, and add the deglazing liquid to the pot.
Moderately seasoning a stock with herbs and pepper also enhances the flavor of the final dish. Be sure to use whole peppercorns rather than ground pepper, which can turn bitter after prolonged cooking. Most chefs avoid adding salt; it can make the stock too salty as it reduces. To keep your stock clear, remember to simmer rather than boil, and frequently skim away any foam that rises to the top during cooking. Clarify the stock by straining it through a chinois, a conical metal sieve with an extremely fine mesh. Chill the strained stock until remaining fat solidifies on the surface, then skim off the fat. For perfectly strained stock, pour it through a frozen cheesecloth–lined sieve.
Get the Homemade Beef Stock recipe.