Earlier this month my husband and I went in with some friends and bought a cow. Our share was 1/8th of this massive, locally raised hunk of meat. When my friend told me it was about 100 pounds of beef, I had trouble imagining just how much it would be. Wowza! Good thing we have a deep freeze, otherwise we would have nowhere to store this gigantic haul of meat.
I was excited to have different kinds of steaks and roasts. Ground beef was plentiful (44 pounds plentiful). There were two things in the box I was clueless on what to do. 1. Livers 2. Neck bones. Gross and Grosser. My husband quickly claimed the livers as catfish bait. I was not one to object. As I started to ponder what to do with these dinosaur sized bovine vertebrae, my mind automatically went to stock. I have made chicken stock several times with the leftover bones from chickens, and I thought surely you could do the same with these neck bones.
After a quick Google search, I learned that you most definitely CAN make beef stock from neck bones. I scoured several recipes/methods for using the bones. I decided I could wing it with items I had on hand.
I can't exactly tell you how many pounds of neck bones I had, but it looked like at least three vertebrae that had been halved (and much to my relief, no spinal cord. For some reason, I was dreading locating a spinal cord.) I quartered one onion, peeled three cloves of garlic, rough chopped two ribs of celery, and threw in about 10 baby carrots I had left in the bag. I placed all the vegetables and bones in a roasting pan and plopped about half of a small can of tomato paste on top. Next, I seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred to coat.
This roasted in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes. A delicious smell filled the house and made me almost go "Cousin Eddie" on the neck bones when they came out of the oven.
I transferred the caramelized yum to a large stock pot and then covered with water. To the pan I also added about a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of whole peppercorns, three bay leaves, and a tablespoon of herbes de provence (since I had no fresh herbs on hand). This simmered on medium-low for four hours.
The stock was poured through a strainer to collect the large chunks of vegetables. The stock rested on the counter top for about 30 minutes. At that point, I was able to skim most of the fat from the top.
At this point the stock is finished. You could easily store it in a sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer.
Or do what I did, throw together a quick vegetable beef soup using half the stock and freeze the remainder.