The most amazing beef stock I have ever tried was introduced to me by Robert Rex of Deerfield Ranch Winery in Sonoma, California, on my 40th birthday. Made with 8 bottles of red wine, what’s not to love? No more pouring out those unfinished bottles that you hold onto for a few days, but then just don’t taste right the second time around. Save them. Consolidate them. Keep them under your sink and let them multiply. And when you have eight full bottles, it’s time to make beef stock! Okay, okay… if you don’t go thru as much red wine as I do, it’s OK to use half wine and half water. But it WILL affect the quality.
2 lbs. beef neck bones
1.5 lbs. pork neck bones
1 lb. beef marrow bones
8 bottles of red wine (or half wine, half water)
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
1 head of garlic
1/2 bunch of parsley
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs fresh basil
3 sprigs any other herb, of choice
2 dried Anaheim peppers crunched up (found in Mexican aisle of grocery store)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper, or 1 hot pepper, like a jalapeno
Optional: Rind off of Parmesan cheese (save this in the months leading up to stock day!)
Spread the bones out on broiler trays and broil them in the oven until well browned, turning once. Meanwhile, prepare the following:
Wash, but don’t peel, the vegetables, then cut them up into large chunks. Be sure to discard the heads off the carrots and parsnip. Cut the garlic head in half along the equator, exposing all the clove halves. You can leave the skins on the onion and garlic. Break up the mushrooms.
Throw all the vegetables into a very large stock pot and add the wine (wine/water). Turn the heat on high.
Add the browned meat and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn the heat down to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook slowly for at least 12 hours, preferably up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
When ready, move the pot by the sink for a series of two strainings. Place a colander into or over another stock pot or large bowl and strain as much liquid into it as it will hold. Discard the contents of the colander. Then place a small, fine strainer atop a Mason jar and, using a cup, strain the juice a second time into the jars. When completed, you should have approximately 6 filled Mason jars. Cap them, wipe them off, and set them out to cool, eventually moving them into the refrigerator.
Note: When you are ready to use the stock, particularly if making a sauce, it is important to remove all of the fat that will rise and solidify at the top of the jar. When the stock is heating up, use a paper towel to gently skim the surface of the stock to remove any last floating fat, or your sauce will become cloudy.