When most people think of bone broth, commonly know as "stock", they often go back to the boxed, meat-flavored water found their grocery store aisles with enough sodium to take down a full grown rhinoceros. That is NOT real bone broth. Believe it or not, real bone broth is actually one of the most nutritious foods you could possibly eat, packed with lean proteins, vitamins and minerals, and collagen. This blend of nutrients helps us in all kinds of healthy ways like promoting weight loss, increase joint health, build stronger hair, nails, skin, and teeth, helps strengthen the body's immune system, and the list goes on and on! This post will go more into how to make bone broth correctly, but don't worry, we will get into the wonderful world of bone broth nutrition next time.
I'M FALLING APART AND NEED BONE BROTH STAT!!!
No worries, I'll share all the secrets of making a nutrient-dense bone broth with you...it will literally keep you together with the amount of collagen it contains. Let's go over the main ingredients and what kind of equipment you might need:
First and foremost, you will need the the best quality bones from grass-fed/pasture raised meats. Bones from corn-fed, hormone/antibiotic injected meats contain very little nutrients and flavor...isn't that the point of making this? Quality is key, and a lot goes a long way. The types of bones you choose will determine the flavor and cook time, we will go over those later!
Pretty self explanatory...
3) VEGETABLE & VEGETABLE SCRAPS
An optional ingredient, but one that adds some flavor to the broth. Vegetables that are traditionally simmered with stock are yellow onions, carrots, celery, leeks, garlic, and parsley. When I say scraps I mean anything you wouldn't eat from a vegetable: onion skins, carrot ends, celery ends, parsley and herb stems, etc. So don't pick or peel anything off the vegetables your simmering. Any vegetable scrap works, as long as it's not a starchy vegetable like potatoes.
4) A BIG STOCK POT OR SLOW COOKER/CROCKPOT
Now that you have all these ingredients, you will need something to put them in. To make a quality bone broth, you will need something to simmer the ingredients in for an extended period of time. Crockpots or slow cookers work great if you are concerned about leaving a pot on the stove for 24+ hours.
And that pretty much covers the basic ingredients and equipment needed to make bone broth. It's very simple, but keep in mind it takes some patience to make this nutrient rich superfood! Let's now go over the steps to making it:
Ingredient for 8-10 quarts of Beef Bone Broth
5-6lb.......................Bones (marrow, knuckle, and neck bones)
10 quarts...............Water, cold (enough to cover the bones)
1/4 cup...................Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
1-2 medium..........Yellow Onion, quartered, skins included
1 large....................Carrot, large chop, end and skin included
2 stalks...................Celery, large chop, ends included
1 clove....................Garlic, smashed, skin and all
1/2 stalk................ Leek, large chop, green part and ends included
6 each......................Parsley Stems, save the leaves for a rainy day
1 Tablespoon........Black Peppercorns
Feel free to add additional vegetable scraps, herbs, and whole spices.
1) CHOOSE THE TYPE OF STOCK TO MAKE
You can make a nutrient rich bone broth with any kind of bones. The most common bone broths you'll find are chicken, pork, and beef. Out of the those, beef bone broth is by far the most nutrient rich. The types of broth can be either be a "blonde" or a "brown" broth. Blonde stocks are when the bones are not roasted before simmering, while brown stocks are when the bones are roasted before simmering. The roasting add more flavor to the final broth. The steps are the same for all kinds of broth, but the cook times differ. Here are the cook times for the types of bone broth for future reference:
Blonde Beef Broth: 36-48 hours
Brown Beef Broth: 24 hours
Blonde Pork Broth: 24 hours
Brown Pork Broth: 20 hours
Blonde Chicken Broth: 12-18 hours
2) ROAST OR NOT TO ROAST...THAT IS THE QUESTION
Whether you roast the bones or not is completely up to your personal preference. It's not done to speed up the cooking process but to add more flavor faster. That's why brown stocks cook "faster" than blonde stocks. To roast any kind of bones, first preheat your oven to 450°F. Put the bones on a baking sheet on a sheet pan then slide them in the preheated oven. Roast for about 10 minutes or until they look brown. If parts are starting to look burnt, it's time to flip them over. Roast for another 10 minutes or until brown.
3) TIME TO GET SIMMERING
Whether your roasted the bones or not, put them in the vessel you will be simmering them in. Fill up the pot with cold water until just covering them, plus a little extra if you can. Add the apple cider vinegar here if you want a little something to help start extracting nutrients from the bones. If a tiny piece of bone is sticking out, don't freak out it'll be fine. Bring the pot to a low simmer and cover slightly. When I say low simmer, I mean a few bubbles at a time and not a steady stream. DO NOT MIX, it doesn't do anything but lower the temperature of the broth while you're trying to bring it up!
4) SKIMMING TIME
After several hours of low simmering, any fats will have melted off. If you leave the fats floating on top, it will fry anything floating to the top and leave a burnt flavor to the final broth. So it's important to skim as much off as possible! Use a ladle or a deep spoon and slowly skim the fat from the edges of the pot. You will notice if your skimming broth up because the fat will separate from it. Some bones (especially chicken and low quality beef bones) form a scum that floats to the top. Skim that off while you're at it, too. Repeat this a few times throughout the simmering time, and remember, DO NOT MIX.
5) TIME TO ADD YOUR VEGGIES
Halfway through the cooking time (see the times up above), add the vegetables, herbs and spices. Don't mix them in, just put them in and push them down slightly into the broth. They work their way in down the line. Make sure the broth is simmering low, the vegetables may have brought the temperature down.
6) IS IT DONE YET?
When a pack of dogs from the neighborhood are sitting outside your kitchen window, you will know the broth is ready. Either that or the time is up depending on the type of broth you're making. Skim whatever scum is left (no worries on the fat at this time). You will need to strain the broth using a fine strainer into a container. When you get to the end, let the bones and vegetables drain in the strainer over your container. You invested a lot of time into this, so every drop counts! Let it cool in the refrigerator.
7) WHY DOES MY BROTH LOOK LIKE JELLO?
You know you made an awesome broth if it resembles jello! That's all the collagen that'll help keep your joints, hair, skin, teeth, and nails strong. Remove any of the hardened fat from the top and do what you will with it (great for cooking, or keep it as a memento to remember your first bone broth-making journey). Since there are no preservatives in this broth, you will want to divide the broth however way you want it and freeze it. A great idea is to freeze some in ice cube trays for a quick add-in while cooking vegetables, rice, or to make a sauce.
8) WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO USE BONE BROTH TO GET THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
If you're eating it in any form, you will get the health benefits! Make soup with it. Braise some chicken thighs or a pot roast in it. Warm it up in a mug and drink it. Eat it like jello....on second thought, that one might be a little weird. As long as you're consuming it, you'll be on your way to getting all the health benefits, so eat up and enjoy!