This is another in my “How to series”. Stay tuned for a couple more. What brought this about? Well, I wanted to make Jollof rice in the oven yesterday (recipe HERE) and I realised I did not have stock. I looked through my freezer and I could see huge chunks of meat, but I truly wasn’t interested in the whole 9 yards of boiling meat. At that point, I got flashbacks of watching Jamie Oliver, Nigella and Ina Garten make beef stock. I remember watching them and thinking, nah, this kind of stock will not work in Nigerian cooking. They used scraps of meat on the bone, vegetables like carrots, leeks, onions, parsnips, cabbage, sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and so many I couldn’t remember and they let all boil for a very long time, sieving the stock afterwards.
While watching those shows, I remembered saying to myself I would try something similar and amend it to Nigerian cooking. This was years ago. Those memories came back last night. I looked into my freezer and saw a packet of diced beef, thanks to Anne Enemaku who supplied me with gorgeous cuts of beef, steaks and chicken breast. I looked at that packet an idea was born. This time I was putting my Food Network watching skills to good use, and I produced a stock that was waaaaaaaaay richer than our traditional method of boiling meats. If you use curry and thyme to marinate, this method will work if you need stock for dishes that are not native. For non native dishes like Jollof rice, fried rice, sauces etc, you can use curry and thyme. You can make this in advance and freeze in small containers. Best of all, with this method, you can still reuse the meat because you are not boiling for very long, which is common in many recipes of making your own stock. You extract the best part of the juices early enough, in fact by the time you are done, with the stock, the meats are still a little pink inside. Just finish off by grilling in the oven, and perfect you’ve gotten the best of both worlds, juicy beef and yummy stock. Here’s how
You will need
Curry – optional
Thyme – optional
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: If you have big chunks of beef, it is important you dice it to about the length of your little finger. This is very important, because you want the beef to have a smaller surface area to react with the that from the pan.
1. Season your diced beef with all I listed above. The untidy of spices and seasoning used will of course depend on how much raw beef you have.
Finish off with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, stir to ensure that the beef is well coated and leave in your fridge to marinate for 45minutes to 1 hour.
The aroma wafting from the beef is so amazing, you would want to have a taste before remembering the beef is raw.
2. Before you take the beef out of the fridge, heat up your frying pan with just enough oil to coat it i.e. dip your fingers in oil and rub the base of the pan. Place on the heat till it gets very hot.
3. Place the beef in the pan, and sear it on each side.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: before you turn to the other side, ensure that side has been well seared, till you see brown caramelised marks on the beef.
4. Once you have exhausted the beef, place in a bowl and set aside for it to rest. As the beef is resting, you will see more juices flowing out of it into the bowl. If you cut into 1 or 2 pieces, you would see that it is still a little raw inside. See the raw bits in the meat.
5. Drain those juices out into the pan, lower the heat and use a wooden spoon to gently ease out the burnt bits from the pan. Return all the beef to the pan, add more water to get about halfway, and then lower the heat for another 10minutes or so.
6. When you check it again, you would see this really thick and rich stock simmering away nicely. Take a spoon and give it a quick taste, and marvel at how delicious it is.
7. Take out the diced beef, allow it to drip very well and place in a bowl. You can then proceed to grilling or frying the beef in the oven. With this method, you did not overcook the beef, and it will still be very taste, juicy and tender.
8. Leave the stock to cool, pour into silicone moulds, or ice-cube tray and freeze. When you need to cook, just pop one or two cubes and finish off with salt. If you feel you must still cook with seasoning cubes, this homemade stock cubes will definitely make you use less than the quantity you normally would cook with.
The beauty of this method is that, the stock is so intense, and the volume I got out of it, was enough to fill 3 mould containers (48). Considering I only used 1 knorr chicken cube to season, and I got 48 stock cubes out of the process, this method is fantastic if you are toeing the line of reducing your salt and seasoning cube intake either for health reasons or to stay away from the dreaded MSG. Best off all, you get the real essence of meat, flavoured and enhanced with natural flavour enhancers.
When you want to cook, just get the mould out of the freezer, and pop the number you need into your pot of soup or stew