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Beef Stock

['4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil', '4 pounds meaty beef bones, such as ribs, shin, neck, or tail', '16 cups cold water', '1 onion, peeled and quartered', '1 carrot, peeled', '1 rib celery', '2 large cloves garlic, crushed', '2 sprigs fresh thyme', '1 bay leaf', '1/2 teaspoon salt']

1. In a 10-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook beef bones, in 2 batches if necessary, until very deeply browned on all sides, including the meaty edges of ribs, for 6 to 8 minutes per side. Reduce the heat if they threaten to burn. Remove the beef to a plate and pour off the oil in the pot.
2. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the water, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Return the beef bones, and any accumulated juices, and bring to a simmer. As it comes to a simmer, skim off any impurities that rise to the surface with a ladle or large spoon.
3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Cook uncovered, at the barest possible simmer, with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours.
4. Remove from the heat and let the stock rest for 15 minutes. Strain stock through a large fine-mesh strainer or a colander double-lined with damp cheesecloth into a large bowl.
5. Fill a larger bowl or the sink with ice and water and nest the bowl of stock in it. Stir regularly until the stock has cooled.
6. Transfer the cooled stock to airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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