The lead photo of this post is fairly misleading since I'm not actually posting a recipe for French Onion Soup (but I will tell you, I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe with all beef stock, no chicken stock).
I got a number of my ingredients for the soup at the Halifax Seaport Market - beef bones from Getaway Farm's Butcher Shop, onions and carrots from Noggins, baguette from The Seaport Bread Shop and cheese from Foxhill - but this post is going to be all about the glorious gelatinous beef stock I made as the base.
Super Easy Homemade Beef Stock (adapted from Emeril Lagasse) Yields 6 Cups of stock
5 lbs beef bones (if you ask really nice, Ben will give you a wicked assortment including marrow bones which are essential for great stock)
PC Black Label Taste #5 Umami Paste (link here)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 Cups red wine
small handful of black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 L water
- pre-heat oven to 450 - place bones in a turkey roaster and cook 50 minutes - remove from oven, brush liberally with Umami Paste and return to oven until deep brown (almost starting to blacken), another 10-15 minutes
- remove bones from roasting pan and set aside - pour off excess fat into heatproof container - add 1/4 cup cold water to roasting pan and, with a wooden spoon, scrape up as many crusty bits as you can, leaving them in the pan - add onions, carrots and celery to pan and place back in oven until veg starts to brown, about 15-20 minutes
- remove pan from oven and immediately add 2 Cups red wine - again using wooden spoon, scrape up as much of the stuck on crusty bits as you can from the bottom of the pan
- in a large stock pot, combine roasted bones, veg-red wine mixture, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves and water - bring to a boil - reduce heat and gently simmer 8 hours
- after 8 hours, scoop out all large solids, then strain stock 4 times through a fine mesh strainer - leave stock to cool at room temp then place in fridge - fat will separate from stock and once chilled, will harden into a layer that you can easily scrape off - discard top layer of fat - benaeth should be beautiful beef jelly (don't worry, the stock will turn to liquid again when you heat it)
Chilled stock with layer of fat scraped off of top.
Getaway's beef bones, pre-roasting.
Getaway's beef bones, post-roasting.
I know that lately it's been sunny and warm during the daytime as we head into spring, but the nights are still chilly enough to enjoy a savoury, hearty bowl of soup.