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Beef Bone Gravy


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  • To finish:
  • At least 4 kilos (8-9 lbs.) fresh beef bones, including at least one marrow bone
  • 1 kilo (2 lb.) fresh shin of beef, in one or two large pieces
  • Stock vegetables, ie 4 large carrots, 4 leeks, 4 onions, half a head of celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of thyme, if handy
  • a few peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • water or beef broth
  • bottle red wine (e.g. Shiraz) or white wine
  • salt, pepper



Step 1

In a hot oven (450-500F) roast all the bones for 15-20 minutes until sizzling and nicely browned. Place the browned bones and the fresh piece of shin in your largest stock pot and cover by at least half an inch with cold water or beef broth. Bring to boiling point, but never allow more than the most tremulous simmer. Patches of dirty grey-brown bubbles (scum!) will appear on the surface. Skim these off with a spoon. When the only scum appearing is a clean white colour, you can stop skimming.

Now add the vegetables, washed and cut up into chunky pieces, and the herbs. Bring back to your slow, tremulous simmer, and cook for 4-5 hours minimum, ideally 6 or 7. (Remove the shin after 3 hours if you want to eat it - delicious cold and dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette). Strain the stock into a clean pan or large basin. Discard the vegetables and bones (feed both to the dog if you like). Leave the stock in a fridge or cool place, ideally overnight, so the stock turns to jelly and the fat sets hard on the top. Carefully remove all the fat and discard.

Warm up the stock over a gentle heat, so it liquifies completely, then strain it carefully through muslin or a cotton cloth. Transfer to a clean heavy-based pan of at least 4 litres capacity, add the wine, and boil hard to reduce. As it becomes darker and more concentrated, taste regularly. It will taste like it needs salt but don't be tempted to add it yet as it will get much too salty as it reduces. Stop when you have a rich, concentrated beefy sauce that is lightly syrupy but not too sticky. Only at this point should you season, to taste, with salt.

You can keep this sauce, chilled as a jelly, in the fridge for up to a week. To serve it with the beef, gently warm it until not quite boiling, and 'refresh' with a few drops of new wine, before serving.

You can also add the deglazed pan juices from the roasting tray, but make sure they are not too salty, and not too fatty, or they will spoil all your hard work.


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