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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making Beef Stock (bone broth)

Isn't it funny how the littlest things can make you me so excited!?  The other day, while at market, I pushed my cart by the meat counter and coolers and one small section of the cooler caught my eye...I saw a locally raised sticker on a little section of beef.  It also had the 4-H logo on it...and well, the local 4-H fair in our county recently ended, so I don't know if the market was a winning bidder on some beef cows or if it was donated, but either way...those of us who were fortunate enough to be at market that day were definite winners!  There were short-ribs, a few cuts of steak...and then there were the cuts that were more in my price range- the beef bones for soup.  I picked up a couple of with smaller cuts that exposed a bit more marrow, fat, & bits of meat, and some of the larger, knuckle portions.  I was pretty pleased with myself for picking the right day & time to go to market...with visions of stockpots dancing in my head

Making homemade stock or bone broth is something that is not only's also logical!  You may even do it already without even realizing it!  Do you save that turkey carcass after your Thanksgiving meal and throw it in a stockpot along with some veggies to make a hearty broth the day following the feast and thanks?  Do you throw some pigs feet or ham hocks into your soup pot while simmering beans?  Do you Use those chicken and turkey necks to make a flavorful gravy for your holiday meals?  Well...then you're already nourishing yourself and using the age-old technique of making bone broth...or stock from bones and utilizing every part of the animal that gives us our food. 

"Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain."*  Plus, the gelatin that is released from cooking the bones for long periods of time facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut.  Plus, it tastes good and cures all that ails ya...just think homemade chicken noodle soup!

Normally, you would roast the bones in the oven before hand when making beef stock, but it was particularly steamy in my kitchen on this summer day, and I decided I couldn't bear to add the the pool of sweat that was already soaking the waistband of my pants.  Stock is a very forgiving, loving vessel...I never weigh out my bones or measure my water or calculate the amount of veg and herb I'm adding...I just sort of go by what I have and what feels right.  So, I'm giving you the way I do it. If you're looking for a more precise starting point, check out my sources at the bottom of the page and click through to the WAPF article for a precise recipe. Oh, and something I do that could be helpful to you...whenever I'm trimming carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, etc...I make sure I've washed them very well first, then I add all the trimmings, ends, stems, etc. to a gallon-sized freezer bag.  I label it 'stock' and stick it in the freezer and keep adding to it until the next time I'm ready to make stock.  I simply pull the bag from the freezer and dump it in when it's time for me to add the veggies and  herbs to my stock.  If I think it's not enough, I'll simply chop up a few more onion, carrots, celery, whatever to add to the pot.  Some people look down their nose at adding carrot peel or onion peel to the stock...pish-posh.  There are plenty of nutrients in those peels!  As long as they're clean, I see no reason not to.  Afterall, I'll eat the whole carrot, but I peel them for presentation purposes when I'm not just eating them out of hand.  Admittedly, I don't eat the onion peel, but I've always added it to the adds color, as well.  In restaurant kitchens, I always added an onion brule (blackened the cut halves on a flat top) to add color, but I don't usually do that at home...unless I really want to make a deep, colorful stock for something in particular (in which case, I'd go ahead and roast the bones, too).  It also adds a deeper color to vegetable and chicken stocks...but I wouldn't recommend it in a delicate fish stock.

Beef Stock
(bone broth)

Various Beef bones
cold, filtered water
mushroom stems (optional)
Garlic cloves, smashed
Parsley stems
thyme sprigs
bay leaves
Black Peppercorns
whole cloves

Place beef bones (raw or roasted) in bottom of a large, deep soup/stock pot.  Cover with the water by ~4".  Slowly heat to a boil over medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, quickly reduce heat to a very low simmer.  You will see scum rising to the surface...skim that off.  It is all the impurities rising from the bones.  Continue to cook over a very lazy bubble (you should just see the bubbles popping up around the edges) for an hour or two, skimming scum as needed.  At this point, most of the scum should be gone.  Add in your veggies, herbs and peppercorns & cloves.  Allow it to return to a slow bubble and continue to cook (steam, almost), partially covered for another 4 hours...or even up to 12!  Keeping the stock from boiling is what will keep it clear and clean...the boiling stirs up all the ick and makes it cloudy.  Okay, remove from heat and ladle the liquid into a large container through a strainer (which I line with a damp coffee filter).  Cool quickly in this container or transfer to smaller jars for storing, if you wish.  Once your stock has gotten cold in fridge/cooler, you will be able to peel off the small layer of fat that forms on top, if  you wish.  Leave a generous inch of headroom in the container if you plan on freezing the stock.

I ended up with just over a gallon of stock this time.  Just over half went into the freezer and the rest I kept in the fridge for using over the next couple of days.  Once it cools, you will be able to see how it turns a bit gelatinous...remember, that's a good thing!  And if by chance it doesn't turn very gelatinous, no worries.  It'll still nourish your body...and  your soul.

~traditions passed down by my grandmas
~my culinary school instruction
~*Sally Fallon Morrell via the WAPF website...which is beyond helpful in your sourch for nourishment in all forms!

This post is linked to :
SimpleLivesThursdayWWFatHFLI am a Food RENEGADE!

"Good broth will resurrect the dead."  ~South American proverb

Would you like to comment?

  1. Great job on the beef broth! I know these are especially good because they are from the 4H club and because you made it!

    By the way, do you know how long homemade broth lasts in the refrigerator?

  2. Hey Christine...don't quote me, but I'd say no longer than a week?? That's about how long I'd keep it, personally, in the fridge. Cold fridge. =)

  3. I just made chicken broth. First I cooked the chicken in the crock pot, then boned it and made the broth overnight and the next day. Then yesterday I put it together for soup. This was the first time that I had the meat, broth,beans all cooked ahead of time then just put them together for about an hour to make the soup. The chicken was still sooo tender. When you live on the cool Oregon coast you eat soup year round.! Blessings Erin

  4. Your beef broth looks great and has an awesome color. Interesting with the 4-H and I'm surprised I haven't seen it here in this county. Way to go with your great informative post!

  5. This broth looks wonderful! Can't wait to try it.

  6. I'll be making my first beef broth this fall. I scooped up several packages of beef bones from a local farmer at our farmers market. They were $2.50/lb. Do you think roasting the bones enhances the flavor or is it simply an extra step? Does it pull more nutrition out?

  7. Ive done the turkey thing and the chicken thing but I don't think I've ever made beef stock. Oh and I do that "veggies in the freezer" thing too!
    now I want to make some!!

  8. Look at those beautiful jars of beef broth! You are preaching to the choir on this one. I try always to make my own stock. By the way, I was in 4-H, many fond memories of those fairs and cooking ribbons. :-)

  9. "Visions of stockpots dance in my head" chuckle, chortle, gafaw, giggle.....Oh sweet girlichef you are a peach.

  10. Looks healthy and would be easy to have handy

  11. Erin...I eat soup year round, too...I don't care how hot it is! know, I'm not really sure about the nutrition part of that question. I'd think as long as you cook the stock until the bones are soft, you've sucked out all the nutrition they have to offer?? As far as flavor goes, I do think it adds a deeper, richer aspect to the broth. The color is obviously affected. When I learned to make beef stock, we would roast the bones and actually brush them with tomato paste during the roasting process...which in turn darkens and adds an even deeper level of flavor. Best of luck on your first'll be hooked!! =)

  12. Love it, love it! I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this. The hubs used to think I was crazy for saving all that stuff in the freezer, but now he stops me from throwing stuff away when I trim my veggies and stuffs it in the bag for me. Making broth or stock is the best tradition and you can have great flavored soups all year!

  13. And hey! I just saw your Paperback Swap badge! Awesome. I love my PBS!

  14. Great post.
    I'm storing veg trimmings in the freezer (mostly parsley stems) too. There is only have a small freezer compartment in my fridge
    which I try to divide into 1/3 homemade vegetable stock; 1/3 trimmings; 1/3 ice cream.

    I'll try to remeber using an onion brulé in the next batch.

    Btw. the one-week storage period in the refrigerator is seconded by Michael Ruhlman in his Ratio book.

  15. I second your excitement over finding local 4H beef at the market. I would be equally excited to find beef bones as I almost never see them anywhere and always have to ask for them at the butcher's counter. Love your tip about the browning the onion for a richer, browner stock. Looks like some rather beefy bones...can't wait to see what you make with the stock!

  16. Andreas...that sounds like a very well-rounded freezer ;) LOL. And hey, looks like I do know what I'm talking least a little, LOL!!

  17. You crack me up ...and you sound so much like me. I get so excited when I find something like that in the grocery store. I was excited the other day when I finally went into this Asian store by my husbands work and I couldn't believe how big it was. They even had a meat and seafood counter. They even had fish heads for fish head soup! Haven't done that yet! Living by on the coast we get a lot of local seafood too. Still no oil here!

    Okay back to the broth. I have learned to label my baggies in the freezer, because fresh lemon juice looks a lot like my chicken broth and it just doesn't taste good in white chili.

  18. How lucky to find 4H beef, you know those were well cared for critters.

    I swear to you, there is not a bone that passes through my house that doesn't get turned into stock. Even if I only get a few bones, I stick them in the freezer until I have enough to make stock. In the winter, I've got a crock pot simmering away with bone broth nearly every day. And I love/value it so much that if I don't have any homemade, I just cook with water.

    Do you ever add an acid? It's always a good idea to add acid (I throw in a blurp of acv) to stock to help draw the minerals from the bones.

  19. You know Butter, I haven't. I just read about doing that for the first time today...and the benefits. I will definitely do it next batch. Does it change the flavor any?

  20. I can use this recipe to make chicken stock. Thanks for sharing it.

  21. Wow great job and wonderful way to make use of your find:)

  22. I would love to see more locally raised meat at our stores! We are more of a veggie area though - not alot of meat cattle in the area. Plus with the huge fees and restrictions placed on cattle ranchers these days, not many can afford to raise beef around here.

  23. Gorgeous bone broth woman! Oh man, that looks so rich :D

  24. Wow! I have got to try this some time! LOOKS AMAAAAAZING!

  25. You know I almost bought Maui beef phones at the farmers market last week to make stock but didn't--now I am regretting it. I always make chicken and veggies stock but rarely beef. You have inspired me. ;-)

  26. What a fabulous find - you know those 4H cows were loved. I love beef broth - more so than chicken even though I usually have the chicken broth on hand. I have a ziploc in my freezer also with peels and ends and whatnot also.

  27. Looking at your photos is making me crave beef soup. My Mom would make us Caldo de Res maybe you know it or heard of it from your husband? I've never made beef stock only chicken. You are inspiring me to try now :)

  28. Si, I've heard of it, Spicie...hubs says it's sooo good. Suppose I should make some now...cuz now I'm craving it, too ;)

  29. Yum, I love beef's so..hearty!
    Thanks for sharing this at Wholesome Whole Foods Girlichef :)

  30. Awesome recipe. Thanks for the leaving room tip for the freezer.