Just an update on what happened with salvaging the weak brown stock using as much of the advice given in the thread as possible. Bearing mind that this was the first time that I had made brown stock from scratch, and really was not aware of what I was doing or of what I was getting myself into. I needed as much help as possible as I had very little common sense about this.
The shin of beef that I had bought to try and improve the weak brown stock, was cut into cubes, put in a shallow roasting pan with a little of the weak brown stock, placed in the oven cooked on a low heat, stirred occasionally until the meat was a very dark brown.
The veggies were been taken out of the stock pot and discarded; the browned shin plus the liquid was, added to the pot of weak brown stock. The roasting pan was deglazed the pan using the brown stock and added that to the stock pot too. The pot (with bones and no lid) was simmered gently for another 4 or so hours. The stock was a bit more colourful than before and with a little more flavour. Cooled the pot in a cold water bath and refrigerated overnight in the pot.
The next day, with trepidation (how dramatic), the stock pot was inspected. The residue fat that had set hard on the top, was scraped away and the liquid beneath had semi set to a very loose but gelatinous jelly Eureka! I was a really happy bunny because I was on the way to achieving my ultimate goal.
The bones were separated from the stock and set aside for the neighbour’s dog. I then continued with mentor’s advice ie to concentrate the stock by reduction. This was fascinating to watch (no lid) and the taste was actually better than imagined – a wholesome beefy flavour. I used some of the reduction as a base for Bolognese sauce. Although the other ingredients of the sauce remained the same as normally used, the flavour had a greater depth that was subtle and very noticeable, which surprised me. The remainder of the stock reduction was cooled quickly and put in the refrigerator over night and, this too set to a loose gelatinous consistency then was put in 500 mls boxes and put in the freezer for future use.
The outcome of my first efforts of making brown stock was not at all wasted, and is going to be just a first phase. I may not have achieved all that I had set out to achieve but I have learned much about how to do things, why things go wrong, and, what to do to remedy the situation if things do not go according to plan; so very important for novices. Things they do not always tell you in cookery books.
I am so grateful to all the contributors to this thread for taking the time for sharing their knowledge and experience and really thank them mentoring me. In April, I am going to do another batch and will be using a mixture of Beef and Veal bones (meaty if I can get them – if not, may have to buy additional meat). French butchers are very canny! So will up update the thread the afterwards.
I am so grateful to all the contributors to this thread for taking the time for sharing their knowledge and experience and really thank them mentoring me.
PS Oh by the way, when straining the stock, for the first time, I used my very fine mesh Chinese hat sieve that I have had for years, but have never used. Incredible piece of equipment - wonderful result.