Preparation info

  • Makes About

    2.25 litres

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Keep it Simple

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1993

  • About

If you have a roast cut on the bone, like ribs of beef, then you have an excellent basis for a stock to make the next day. When buying the joint, ask your butcher for some marrow bones or any beef or veal bones he has to hand. If the bones are large, ask him to saw them into smallish pieces. This recipe makes about 2.25 litres / 4pt.


  • 2kg/lb beef bones or a mixture of beef and veal bones
  • 1 large onion
  • 170g/6oz carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • bunch of parsley
  • stalk of celery
  • 1 slice of green bacon
  • 10 whole peppercorns



    Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas8. Put the bones in a roasting pan and roast them until they brown and fat runs out.

    Peel and coarsely chop the onion and carrots and fry them in some beef dripping (or the fat that has exuded from the bones) until nicely browned.

    Put all the browned bones and vegetables in a large pan with 4.5 litres/8pt of cold water and bring to the boil. As scum comes to the surface, lower the heat and skim carefully.

    After the first skimming, throw in a handful of ice cubes or pour in 300ml / ½pt of cold water, bring back to the boil and skim again. Repeat this 3 times.

    Add the remaining ingredients, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for at least 8 hours, and for as long as 12. It must not boil, or the glue element will be extracted from the bones, which will cloud the stock and give it an unacceptably bony flavour.

    Obviously there will be evaporation, so add more water from time to time. However, experience shows that after skimming and once you have achieved the barest simmer (steam coming off the surface, but no bubbles rising) this amount of stock can be left to cook overnight without drying out and burning. (Before doing so, however, it is a good idea to make the stock for the first time during the day, then you can work out whether your hob will allow you to leave a pot simmering all night without your sitting bolt upright in the early hours wondering whether you can smell something burning.)

    Strain the stock into another saucepan and leave to cool. Refrigerate once cool. The stock will then gel and any remaining fat will solidify on the surface - this can then be removed before use.

    The stock will keep indefinitely if boiled up twice a week. It also freezes well: try reducing it down by about half and then freezing it in ice-cube trays; the cubes can then conveniently be used 1 or 2 at a time.