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Asian Beef Stock

This beef stock recipe is a great fundamental element for making Asian noodle dishes, such as Taiwan beef noodle soup and Vietnamese beef pho. If you’re pursuing authentic flavor, spending a bit more time to make your own stock is the best way to go.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 5 mins
Course: Stock
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds beef stock bones I used 5280 beef knuckle bones and marrow bones, sawn into smaller pieces (*see footnote 1)
  • 2 pound beef chuck (or beef brisket, cut to 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) chunks) (*see footnote 2)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 thumb ginger , sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Japanese sake

Aromatics

  • 2 chili peppers , dried
  • 2 pieces cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).
  • Spread stock bones and meat in a large roasting pan. Spray a thin layer of oil onto the bones and meat. Roast on the bottom rack until the bones and meat turn an even golden brown color, about 40 minutes. Flip once, halfway through, and check on the bones frequently. If a higher part of the bones cooks too fast, cover with aluminium foil to avoid burning.
  • Transfer bones and meat to a large stock pot (I used a 16-quart pot). Pour a cup of hot water into the roasting pan and scrape the brown bits off the pan. Pour everything into the stock pot.
  • Add cold water to the stock pot to cover the ingredients by one inch. Turn on high heat. Add green onion, ginger, bay leaves, Japanese sake, and aromatics to the pot. Cook until bringing to a boil, stir a few times, and turn to low heat. Cook the broth at a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours (remove the beef during this process), until the all the collagen on the bones has fallen off and the marrow is mostly dissolved. During the cooking, check on the stock and skim the brown foam from the top with a large spoon.
  • (Option 1) If you’re going to make beef stew - After 1 hour of simmering, remove the beef chuck from the pot and transfer it to a container to use later.
  • (Option 2) If you’re going to serve the beef immediately - Remove the beef when tender, after 2 to 3 hours.
  • When the stock is ready, you can remove the bones and turn to high heat to reduce the soup so it’ll be easier to store.
  • Drain the stock with a colander and transfer it into airtight containers. Do not skim the fat from the top. You can store the stock in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Notes

  1. You can ask the butcher to saw the bones when you’re shopping for them. They release flavor much faster this way and will allow you to shorten the cooking time. I was working on another project while cooking with these bones, so I had to cook them whole. I cooked the stock overnight to get the desired thickness.
  2. Do not cut the beef into tiny pieces. It will lose moisture faster and you will spend extra time dealing with it. You can always slice it into smaller pieces before serving.
  3. In this recipe, you'll notice that the cooking process will take about 4-6 hours. Animal bones contain a lot of a protein called collagen, which is full of many beneficial amino acids. But because you can't digest bones, the long cooking process breaks down the collagen into a more digestible form called gelatin. It's this gelatin that makes this beef stock incredibly healthy and great for improving your digestive and joint health.
  4. I highly recommend you get bones made from a healthy animal. So make sure you ask your butcher for bones only from grass-fed or pasture-raised cattle.