Get your butcher to saw up some "Flintstone"-like beef bones to a size that will fit a large roasting pan. The quantities in this recipe are flexible to suit your needs and what you've got in the pantry.
- Dice celery, onions and carrots and make a bed of these in the bottom of the pan. You could add a head of garlic.
- Add some diced beef - any cheap cut will work, such as shin, chuck or flank.
- Add the bones and splash a bit of oil over them, the meat and veges.
- Roast in a gentle oven (150C) until the contents have coloured. This should take at least a couple of hours. Move the pan's contents around every so often to achieve even browning. It is vital that any burned bits are removed during this time as any charred flavours will contaminate the later result.
- Add the above to a stock pot that is at least 5 litres. The secret of good stock-making is to extract as much flavour as possible out of your ingredients. so the more volume of water you have around them, the greater the chance of extraction. You will later reduce the stock to concentrate it.
- Heat the empty roasting dish and deglaze with water, scraping up the caramelised meat and vegetable juices stuck to the pan. Be careful. Do not scrape up burned bits. Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and pour this over the bones in the pot.
- Add some freshly diced celery, celery tops, carrot and onions. Add some parsley stalks, a few pepper corns and bay leaves. Whatever you add now will be base notes in your stock, so go easy on the aromatics.
- Cover with cold water. Bring the stock to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for as long as possible. Top up with cold water as the level drops and skim off any "scum" that forms on the top. Do not stir, this agitates all the fats in the liquid and will result in a cloudy end product.
- After at least a few hours (we used to have this going all day in the restaurant but I'm not suggesting that) take off from the heat and carefully remove all the bones and veges from the pot.
- Strain the remaining liquid, passing it through a muslin cloth, and set aside to cool. The liquid should be well coloured and clear. Once cold, any fats and oils will have risen to the top and may be removed.
- Now taste your stock. It should taste "meaty" and rich and have no distinct herbal flavours. If it seems weak, put it back on the stove and reduce it to concentrate the flavours further.