Beef Stock + Israeli Onion Soup

I had planned on making chicken soup for the Seder, but we read on the kol foods brisket cooking tips site that brisket is particularly absorbent, and that it’s a waste to cook good meat in bad beef stock.

So we ordered a whole passel of bones from kol – mostly beef with a few lamb (I needed a couple for the shank bones anyway), and made homemade beef stock. I was guided by the stock recipe from simplyrecipes.com, and here’s how I did it:

6 lbs beef bones
2 lbs lamb bones
2 onions
2 carrots
5 cloves garlic

a bunch of peppercorns
parsley
a couple of bay leaves
(note: no salt!)

I did need to buy a bigger stock pot: I got a 16 quart stock pot, which includes a lid with a small vent hole in it – this is a critical component, because a regular pot (a) won’t be big enough and (b) tilting the lid to vent is a huge PITA.

First, roast the upper-half of the list in a 400° oven until the bones are browned, turning once or twice – it took me about an hour. After roasting, put all of the roasted stuff, along with the lower half list into the pot and cover with water. Simmer on very, very low heat (barely simmering is ideal) for ~8 hours. If it goes long, that’s fine. Occasionally skim the surface for fat or scum. After it’s done, remove the bones & vegetables with tongs and discard (or give a bone to a dog, who will like it a great deal). Strain the stock through cheesecloth+colander and let cool. This will require several very large containers – it took 3 13cup containers and a small one. Refrigerate the stock overnight. After refrigeration, imperfectly remove the fat that has congealed on the surface of the broth (i.e. don’t worry about missing a little bit, but get rid of most of it).

In the morning, I started to make onion soup – I was guided by the obviously non-kosher simplyrecipes french onion soup recipe. Obviously, cheese & bread were right out, and I didn’t have the little oven-crocks, so here’s how I did it (I’m calling it “Israeli Onion Soup” to differentiate it from the cheese-loaded French Onion):

Passel of onions, very thinly sliced (about 5 medium-sized ones)
garlic, finely minced
olive oil
fresh thyme, minced
bay leaf
8c homemade beef broth
2.5-3 teaspoons salt
pepper
1/2c dry white wine

Caramelize the onions & garlic in the olive oil (medium heat, minimal stirring, they should be a nice dark color) – this will take ~35 minutes or so. Add the white wine, and use that to pick up any of the bits of onion that are stuck to the sauté pan. Add the beef broth, thyme and bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste – I was concerned about a guest who has to track salt, so that’s why I measured it. 3 teaspoons is about right for most tastes, but it could easily be reduced to 2.5 without much loss. 2 would taste like a “low-salt” recipe, without actually being “low-salt.” Typical Jewish soup salt levels are probably about twice the salt content of this recipe.

I made this in two batches and then joined them. Cook them on the stove for ~ an hour and serve as desired. This soup refrigerates well, although the stock is pretty gelatinous, so don’t be too surprised.

About thegameiam
I'm a network engineer, musician, and Orthodox Jew who opines on things which cross my path.

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