Homemade Stock for Ramen or French Onion Soup

Life's about more than business; cook good food.

Yes, it’s a blue ocean strategy blog. But if we can’t step back, cook, and enjoy nice food what’s the point? Besides, cooking and eating a nice meal is a way to clear one’s head which, ultimately, is key to successful ideation and innovation.

This recipe’s super inexpensive to make yet yields restaurant-quality food.

With that in mind…

Get the biggest pot you can find.

If making beef stock, go to the butcher and get bones; big knuckle bones work best. If making chicken stock, save the carcasses from the chickens you’ve been eating or find a rotisserie chicken place and beg them for the carcasses from the chicken meat they sell whole. The more the better.

Add to beef stock about 500 grams (1lb.) of meat, beef or veal for beef stock and chicken for chicken stock. For beef stock, stew meat, neck, or anything similar works best; when finished the meat will be bland enough you probably won’t want to eat it. For chicken stock, you’ll end up with boiled chicken.

Wash 3-5 carrots, depending on size, and peel 3-4 onions, also depending on size. Cut the onions in half and the carrots into chunks. Cut a head of garlic in half through the middle.

Salt and roast the veggies, garlic, and, if making beef stock, the bones, for about 30-40 in an oven at 175C/350F until brown. You’re looking for that maillard reaction. I’m presuming the chicken carcasses are already cooked if making chicken stock but, if not, roast that.

If making beef stock, cut the meat into pieces and brown in a pan with oil. Again, you want nice brown chunks.

Finally, add everything to a giant pot plus herbs, thyme, 4-5 bay leaves, and any other herbs you like. Fill to nearly the top with water.

Heat the whole kit n’ caboodle to 205C/200F but (this is important) do not boil. You should see some bubbles but not a boil. Use a thermometer if you have one. Keep at the higher heat for 20 minutes.

Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover lightly, and wait. Let simmer for a minimum of four hours or a maximum of 18 hours; the longer the better. Every now and again, open the pot and scrape off any oil or yuck that floats to the top but don’t stir.

Finally, scoop out the meat and veggies and meat with a strainer. You can eat them but, if all has gone well, the beef and veggies be super bland. We typically feed the beef to the dog. The chicken seems to hold up better.

Next, let cool. The oil will form a seal at the top which keeps the stock bacteria-free. You can keep the stuff at the top or scoop it out and throw it out. Without the seal, the stock needs to be refrigerated, frozen, or canned.

Optional: keeping in mind this is a business blog, at this point, can the stock and bring it to a farmers market to sell the tastiest stock anybody’s ever had which will launch a blue ocean business because nobody else is making and selling homemade stock.

To make ramen: cook nice noodles — the good ones from the store, not the ramen noodles in the packets — and add a poached egg, some chicken or grilled beef, Chinese veggies, and whatever else you want in ramen.

To make French onion soup: cook a bunch of thick-cut onions in a bunch of butter at low heat until soft and a little bit brown. Add the broth. Cook together about 20 minutes. Pour into oven-safe soup bowls, put a crouton and grated Gruyère and plop the whole thing under the broiler until the cheese is brown and gooey. Interesting digression: although the French love eating meat traditionally, genuine French onion soup is vegetarian, made with only onions. The beef broth version is American though I’ve yet to meet a French person who doesn’t think it’s très magnifique.

Serve with water, beer, or wine, and friends (note for Americans used to excessive disclaimers: share the meal with the friends - do not eat the friends).