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Good Old-Fashioned Beef Stock

Simmering beef stock is the scent of hospitality.

About 2 quarts


10 minutes to prep, 5 to 6 hours to cook, and at least several hours to chill the stock so that it’s easy to remove the fat


Veal or beef stock forms the backbone and heart of any restaurant kitchen that ladles sauce on a plate: the ripples of flavor percussing from it, the silkiness and body it provides any dish. Yet most home cooks rarely make chicken stock, let alone beef! And while a carton of chicken broth tastes slightly of chicken if you set your expectations very low, the same can certainly not be said for a carton of beef broth (brackish brown water with a chemically vegetal back).

Dream of beef bourguignon! Anticipate borscht! Imagine the clever little wine and butter sauce you could spoon on a grilled steak! Conjure the nostalgia of French onion soup. Think of those things and you’ll think of beef stock.

Cooking Remarks

Working with marrow bones is much tidier than working with chicken. And your dog will be thrilled with the leftovers! 

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a flameproof large roasting pan, a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot, a chinois, and a large heatproof mixing bowl.

    • 5
      pounds beef marrow bones
    • 3
      pounds oxtails or beef shanks
    • 3
      medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
    • 3
      small carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 2
      large celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    • 1
      head garlic, cloves separated and crushed
    • 2
      tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1
      cup dry red wine
    • 6
      fresh thyme sprigs or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
    • Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
    • 1
      Turkish bay leaf
    • 2
      teaspoons black peppercorns
    • 4
      quarts spring or filtered water, plus additional if needed

    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the marrow bones and oxtails or shanks in a flameproof large roasting pan and roast until they are a rich mahogany color, about 40 minutes. Toss the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and tomato paste in with the bones and continue to roast until the vegetables take color, turning occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes more. 


    Transfer the bones and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot. Place the roasting pan over a burner set on high and deglaze the pan with the red wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the wine into the stockpot and add the thyme, parsley, bay, peppercorns, and water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently until the stock is rich in flavor, about 5 hours, adjusting the heat as needed and adding water in 1-cup increments if the bones begin to look bare.


    Strain the stock through a chinois into a large heatproof mixing bowl. You should have about 2½ quarts. Give your dog a bone and discard the other bones and vegetables. Let the stock cool slightly, and then refrigerate until well chilled. 


    Remove the congealed fat on the surface. The stock is now ready to use. It will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator, but we recommend freezing it if there are no immediate plans to deploy the stock in a recipe.