Why It Works
- Using a pressure cooker raises the cooking temperature above water's boiling point, melting gelatin and extracting flavor faster than traditional simmering methods.
- Optionally tossing in a cross-cut beef shank adds flavor to the stock.
- Using joints and/or a beef foot ensures lots of gelatin in the final stock.
Classic beef stock takes ages to make—often the simmering stage alone lasts 12 hours. That's made it an unlikely project for most home cooks. But thanks to the pressure cooker, beef stock can be made in a fraction of the time, without sacrificing quality. The result is a deeply flavorful and gelatin-rich stock that will make amazing sauces, braises, stews, and soups. This recipe makes a brown beef stock, meaning the bones and vegetables are roasted first for deeper flavor and color.
- 5 pounds (2.25kg) beef bones (see note)
- Vegetable oil, for drizzling
- 1 (8-ounce; 225g) yellow onion, roughly diced
- 1 medium (4-ounce; 115g) carrot, roughly diced
- 1 large (3-ounce; 85g) celery rib, roughly diced
- Boiling water, for deglazing
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack set in middle position. Lightly coat all the bones with oil and arrange in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Roast, turning bones once or twice, until beginning to turn golden-brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly toss onion, carrot, and celery in oil. When step 1 is complete, scatter all over and around bones and continue roasting until bones and vegetables are nicely browned, about 30 minutes longer. Be careful not to let anything scorch.
Transfer beef bones and roasted vegetables to a pressure cooker. Pour off and discard (or save) any accumulated fat from the roasting pan. Pour a thin layer of boiling water into roasting pan and scrape up any browned bits. Pour pan juices into pressure cooker.
Add garlic, thyme, parsley, and tomato paste to pressure cooker. Add enough cold water to bring level to the cooker's max-fill line; do not let water exceed the max-fill line, even if some solids are not submerged.
Close pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, and cook for 2 hours 30 minutes. Allow cooker to depressurize naturally. Open cooker and strain stock through a fine-mesh strainer (discard solids, though if there's a shank in there, be sure to eat it).
Skim the stock by either carefully ladling off the top layer of fat while stock is still hot, or, for greater ease, refrigerate stock until well chilled, then remove the solid cap of fat that rises to the top.
Portion stock into storage containers or zipper-lock bags (if it's been chilled, reheat it to a liquid state first), then freeze or refrigerate until ready to use.
Make sure the beef bones are cut short enough to fit into your pressure cooker (ask butcher to cut them shorter if not). You can use any assortment of bones your butcher has, but bones with bits of meat still attached will give more flavor, while connective-tissue-rich options like joints and feet will deliver more gelatin to the stock; you can also include some veal bones for even more gelatin. A cross-cut beef shank, while not required, will boost the flavor even more; eat it after cooking so it doesn't go to waste.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Beef stock can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week, or frozen for up to 6 months.