Whether you’re doing a Whole30, eating paleo, or just enjoy good, nutritious food, homemade bone broth is one of the best things for you. I use this in recipes that call for beef broth, or drink it on its own as a terrific source of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. The first time I made my famous curry beef stew using homemade beef broth instead of the thin, flavourless store-bought broth, it was like an entirely new recipe. I honestly had no idea it would make such a huge difference. Hubby and I kept remarking on it the entire time we ate the stew. (Yes, you’re right, we do lead very exciting lives!) Try this once, and I guarantee you’ll see exactly what I mean.
A good bone broth does take a long time to make, so start at least a day or two ahead of time if you have a particular recipe in mind. The good news though is that it requires very little actual work from you – it’s almost all simmerin’ time. The biggest pain I find is the real estate it takes up on my stove for two days. It’s totally possible to make this in the slow cooker and save stove space that way, but in the amounts I make it, I have to use my stove because I need my giant stock pot to hold almost twice as much as my slow cooker.
Start with a big batch of beef bones. I’ve mentioned before that we buy pastured beef a quarter of a cow at a time from the farm down the road. Some people leave the bones at the butcher, but not us! You can also get bones from your local butcher or beef farmer, just let them know you’re making broth. Estimate about 7 pounds of beef bones per gallon (about 4 litres) of water, and choose as many joint bones (knuckles, tail bones, chine bones) as you can for the collagen.
Start by roasting the bones on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about an hour. We’ve skipped this step before and the broth still tastes good, but roasting the bones gives it extra flavour and colour.
Put all the bones into a big stock pot and add enough water to cover all the bones. Add a chopped up onion, two or three carrots, any vegetable scraps you might have, and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help leach the minerals out of the bones and into your broth.
Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to simmer on the back of the stove for 24-48 hours. Once it’s done, strain out all the solids, skim the fat, and use your bone both anywhere you’d use stock. If I’m not using it right away, I find it simplest to let the broth cool and refrigerate before skimming off the solid fat.
Bone broth freezes very well too, so we like to make big batches and use some now, some for later. Don’t be alarmed if it cools into a big lump of jello in the fridge. That’s the sign of lots of yummy healthy gelatin in your stock and exactly why you wanted those joint bones in there. Clearly there’s way more going on in homemade stock than the stuff you buy from the store!
And the nice thing is that you can do it all over again with the same bones. Just add new water, vinegar, and vegetables, and make another batch!
- 7 lbs. beef bones (at least half of them joint bones)
- 4 litres water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 chopped carrots
- Roast bones for an hour at 350 degrees.
- Add all ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer for 24-48 hours.
- Strain out the solids and skim the fat.
- Store in the fridge for up to 7 days. Freeze the excess.