Homemade Beef Stock for French Onion Soup

4 quarts

This recipe can be halved. After making the French Onion Soup, you will have a couple of cups of stock left over. You can use it in any recipe calling for beef stock.


  • 3 pounds beef bones (such as marrow bones or shin bones)

  • 3 pounds oxtail

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 pounds unpeeled onions, quartered

  • 2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces and rinsed well

  • 4 celery stalks, cut into thirds

  • 3 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

  • 1 cup red wine


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange beef bones and oxtail in a single layer in a heavy roasting pan (not glass). Coat with oil. Roast, turning once, until deep brown, about 45 minutes.

  2. Add tomato paste, onions, leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic, stirring well. Roast until vegetables are browned and tender, about 40 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, make a bouquet garni by wrapping parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth. Tie bundle with kitchen twine; set aside.

  4. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stockpot; set aside. Pour off fat from roasting pan. Set pan on stove across two burners. Add wine, and bring to a boil, deglazing pan by scraping up any brown bits from bottom with a wooden spoon; boil until wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add to stockpot.

  5. Add 6 quarts (24 cups) water to stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; bring to a gentle simmer. Add bouquet garni. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat, 3 hours.

  6. Carefully pass stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl or pot; discard solids. Let stock cool completely.

  7. Transfer stock to airtight containers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 3 days before using (fat will solidify; discard it before using). The stock can be frozen up to 4 months.

Cook's Notes

Don't crowd the pan, but the ingredients should fit snugly to allow for even browning. Deglazing the pan with wine picks up all the flavorful brown bits. Simmer stock gently; boiling can make it cloudy.

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