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Perfect dark beef stock

The key to perfect dark beef stock is nothing more than perfect browning, a long, slow, steady simmer and lots and lots of patience. As far as recipes go, this is the perfect one for the job!
Course Stock
Cuisine French
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 23 hours
Total Time 1 day
Author Johan Johansen


  • 5 pounds of beef bones
  • 5 large carrots cut into large chunks
  • 5 celery stalks leaves and all, cut into large chunks
  • 2 large onions skin on, cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek white and green parts, halved and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves skin on
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 10 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  • 15 black pepper corns
  • 50 grams tomato paste


  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. While oven is heating fill a large roasting pan with the vegetables and carefully nestle the bones on top.
  3. Place the pan in the oven. Check bones every ten or so minutes and turn regularly until they’re well-browned all over.
  4. Remove bones from oven and brush surfaces evenly with tomato paste.
  5. Return pan to oven for 5-10 minutes and roast until tomato paste is caramelized and fragrant. Keep an eye on the bones as they will burn easily.
  6. Remove pan from the oven and carefully transfer the browned bones to a stock pot.
  7. Toss vegetables in the rendered beef fat, return the roasting pan to the oven and allow vegetables to continue browning for a good ten minutes, tossing once or twice.
  8. Remove roasting pan from the oven and very carefully pour its entire content into the stock pot.
  9. Add a bit of water to the roasting pan and carefully scrape any caramelized bits from the bottom and sides of the pan, then (carefully) pour everything into the stock pot.
  10. Add all herbs and spices to the stock pot along with enough cold water to cover the bones and vegetables.
  11. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat, carefully skimming off any foam that rises to the top.
  12. Once a boil has been reached, quickly decrease the heat to a gentle simmering rate of about one bubble per second.
  13. Simmer the stock for at least 12 hours, skimming regularly when necessary.
  14. Turn the heat off, cool the stock to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  15. The next day, return the pot to the stove and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat.
  16. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for at least an additional four hours.
  17. Carefully remove the bones from the stock and discard, then carefully strain the stock into another pot, discarding the vegetables, herbs and spices.
  18. Cool, cover and refrigerate until fat congeals on top of the stock, then remove hardened fat with a spoon and reserve for some other use (see notes below)
  19. Stock can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to five days. Frozen it will keep just about forever.

Recipe Notes

The rendered beef fat has an intense and deep beefy flavor. Use it with flour as a roux to thicken sauces or use it for frying. Carrots or potatoes cooked in beef fat are excellent and beef fat really adds depth and intensity to sauces and stews.