When you buy the beef for this rich-tasting stock, ask the butcher to break up the bones into pieces small enough to fit into your stockpot or largest saucepan.
1.8 kg meaty beef bones, including marrow and shin bones or knucklebones
2 onions, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, sliced
6 sprigs fresh parsley
2 small bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas 6). Place the bones, onions and carrots in a roasting tin, then roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the bones turn a rich brown.
Transfer the mixture to a stockpot or very large saucepan. Add the celery, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and salt. Add enough water (about 5 litres) to cover the mixture.
Add a little water to the roasting tin and stir to loosen any browned bits. Pour the liquid and bits into the stockpot.
Place the stockpot over medium–high heat, then slowly bring the mixture to a boil, using a slotted spoon to skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat, partly cover the pot and simmer gently for 3 to 4 hours.
Line a fine sieve with muslin (cheesecloth) and set it over a large bowl. Slowly pour the stock through the sieve; discard the solids. Let the stock cool to room temperature. Pour the stock into serving-sized, airtight containers; cover, label and date. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months. If fat congeals on top of the stock while refrigerated or frozen, remove and discard before using the stock.
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