At the restaurants, we use a variety of different beef bones for our stock because we think the combination gives it the best flavor. Unlike the shank and neckbones and oxtail, the marrowbones don’t get blanched. That’s because the hot water would melt the marrow, and since you discard the blanching liquid, you’d be throwing all that delicious flavor down the drain. If you can get bones from grass-fed beef, use them here. The flavor is probably most similar to the beef available in Vietnam.
• 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled
• 3-inch piece fresh ginger
• 2 pounds oxtails, cut in 2- to 3-inch pieces
• 2 pounds beef neck bones
• 2 pounds beef shank bones
• 2 pounds beef marrowbones
• 1 ounce light brown palm sugar or 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 3-inch piece Chinese cinnamon
• 1 whole star anise pod
• 1 whole clove
• 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
Makes about 6 quarts
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the onion and ginger on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the onion is soft and beginning to ooze for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let the onion and ginger cool until they can be handled. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Slice the unpeeled ginger into ¼-inch-thick coins.
2. While the onion and ginger are roasting, blanch the bones: To ensure the pot is large enough to blanch the bones without boiling over, put the bones in the pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Then remove the bones and bring the water to a boil. When it is at a rolling boil, add the oxtails, neck bones, and shanks. Return the water to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the contents of the pot into a colander and rinse under cold running water. Rinse the pot and return the rinsed oxtails, neck bones, and shanks to the pot. Add the marrowbones.
3. Add the onion halves, ginger slices, sugar, salt, and 8 quarts of fresh water to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface. Lower the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer and simmer for 4 hours, skimming as needed to remove any scum that forms on the surface.
4. Add the pepper, cinnamon, star anise, clove, and cardamom and continue cooking, skimming occasionally, for 1 hour longer.
5. Remove from the heat and, using a spider or a slotted spoon, discard the large solids. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container, let sit for a few minutes (or refrigerate overnight), then skim most of the fat from the surface (leave some, as it gives the stock a better flavor and mouthfeel). Use immediately, or let cool completely, then transfer to practical-size airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.