2 lbs soup bones, either short ribs or oxtail, or talk to your butcher to find out what is available
1 T vegetable oil, or other high heat oil
Cheesecloth and cooking twine
1 carrot, sliced into three pieces, root and stem removed
Skin and first layer of one large onion
2 sprigs parsley
Center ribs of celery, including all the leaves
15 or so pepper corns, a small handful will do
6 cups water
1/2 t salt
Spoon Mage™ Stock Direction Note:
If your soup bone is large and the water does not cover it, go ahead and add a few cups more. No need to completely submerge the meat, just get to the point where it is nearly covered. The meat and fat will shrink as it cooks.
The scummy stuff that floats to the top when soup bones simmer is a denatured protein that is harmless and without flavor. It offers no benefit to the soup and will discolor the stock if allowed to disperse. It is worth the time to take a spoon and spend 10-15 minutes to skim it off as it rises to the top. Your soup will be a beautiful clear brown. No need for constant skimming, just come back to the pot every few minutes and scoop a little at a time until the process slows to a stop.
The soup bone should be kept on a low simmer only. Boiling makes the scum incorporate into the stock quicker than you can skim. Instead of a pretty brown stock, your soup will be a filmy unappealing grey.
In a large soup pot heated over medium high, add the vegetable oil, tilting the pot until the oil covers the entire bottom surface. Heat oil for one minute, then add the short ribs, and brown well on both sides. Use a wooden spoon to unstick as needed, but do not try to remove the browned bits that stick on the bottom.
While the ribs brown, place the onion skin, parsley, celery with leaves, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth and secure with cooking twine.
When the ribs are nicely browned, add one cup of water to the pot and deglaze the pot. No need to remove the ribs to deglaze. Scrape up all the browned bits. The water will turn a beautiful brown almost immediately.
Add five more cups of water to the pot, insert the veggie filled cheesecloth, and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Bring to a low simmer, skimming off the scum that rises to the top. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Do not boil.
Once the scum production has reduced, cover, and continue to cook the stock for about 2 hours. Stir every now and then. Keep an eye on it to make sure it does not boil.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Make sure it is securely positioned.
Remove the pot from the stove. Remove the cheesecloth and place it in the strainer. Push on it with a spoon to squeeze the liquid inside into the large bowl. Dispose of the cheesecloth packet.
Remove the beef bones to a plate.
Carefully pour the rest of the stock through the strainer, filling the bowl. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stove.
Trim the meat off the cooled bones for use in Hamburger Vegetable Soup. Or freeze for future use.