From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
675g (1½ lb) shin of beef, cut into pieces
675g (1½ lb) marrow bones or knuckle of veal, chopped
1 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
1 tblsp tomato purée
150ml (1/4 pint) red wine
1 small garlic bulb, halved
1 bouquet garni (parsley stalks, sprigs of thyme and bay leaves tied together)
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7). Place the shin of beef and marrow bones or knuckle of veal in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until well browned. Drain off all the excess oil and discard.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté for 6-7 minutes, until just beginning to colour. Stir in the tomato purée, then pour in the red wine and allow it to bubble down for 1 minute.
Add the roasted meat bones to the vegetable and wine mixture along with the garlic and bouquet garni. Pour in 1.75 litres (3 pints) water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then partially cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 4-5 hours, until you have achieved a well-flavoured stock, topping up occasionally with a little water - you’ll need to add another 1.2 litres (2 pints) in total over the whole cooking time.
Strain the stock and leave to cool completely before chilling down. Once it’s cold, remove any trace of solidified fat from the surface using a large spoon, then cover with a lid and return to the fridge until needed. Use as required.
Cook Ahead: This stores very well in the fridge for 3 days or freeze in 600ml (1 pint) cartons and defrost when you need it.