HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH
Here’s the basic technique – whether it’s lamb or beef or chicken or turkey etc. – You are taking bones and small amounts of meat or chicken and putting them in a big pot with a goodly amount of water and adding veggies and herbs and salt and bringing it to a boil and then letting it simmer many many hours and then straining all the solids out and you have stock/broth. You can never do it wrong : ) Bone broth is a way for cooks to use all parts of an animal (necks, feet, wings etc) and even “trimmings” from veggies as well as leftovers – in other words, you can collect potato peels, celery leaves, the ends of carrots and bits of left over winter squash, an over ripe tomato, kale and chard leaves, leftover cooked chicken or beef or lamb, and so on, to add to the pot (in addition to “good” onions, carrots and celery) so that nothing is wasted !
KEY – GRASS-FED ORGANIC BONES AND ORGANIC VEGETABLES AND “PURE” WATER ARE BEST!
The only “avoids” are – leave out strong tasting (cruciferous) veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and, other than carrots, you don’t want a whole lot of starchy veggies in there (potatoes etc) – also leave out strong tasting root veggies like turnips, and rutabaga wouldn’t be too good – and beets would turn the stock pink, so you don’t want that.
Hard core, traditional cooks put feet in their bone broth (chicken feet, calves foot etc.) because feet have a lot of collagen in them and make a lot of highly nutritious gelatin in the stock (which also thickens the stock). I have made chicken stock with organic chicken feet – they are the creepiest looking things you’ve ever seen – but they do make a great stock!
BEEF BONE BROTH and LAMB BONE BROTH (to make lamb broth – use lamb bones and then the rest of the recipe is the same)
APPROXIMATELY 4 pounds of beef marrow and knuckle bones (if you can’t get these – take any kind of bones!) (If you’re doing Lamb Stock – neck bones and riblets are supposed to be most delicious – I just use whatever organic bones I can find!)
1 calves foot cut into pieces (only if feeling very brave) (you could put this into a beef or lamb stock…)
4 or more quarts “good” water (filtered, non-chlorinated water)
½ cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is good, or left over wine; or a tomato or two, or even a small can of tomatoes with their juice – this is the acidic component which helps leach the nutrients out of the bones and into the broth)
3 onions, coarsely chopped (I leave skins on, especially if they’re organic)
3 carrots, coarsely chopped – I would NOT put carrot tops/carrot greens into the stock – some people think they are slightly toxic — just scrub the carrots – no need to peel)
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped (can add all the celery leaves – they’re very nutritious)
You can throw in fresh parsley, whole pepper corns (1 teaspoon), fresh or dried sage and thyme (if fresh, 1 – 2 tablespoons – if dried, 2 teaspoons or so) Fresh or dried rosemary (1 sprig)
Sally Fallon (author of Nourishing Traditions and www.westonaprice.org) roasts the marrow bones in the oven first. I never do this and it seems to taste great anyway.
So, put everything into the pot, making sure the bones are covered with water, but not having the water come right up to the rim of the pot, as it will boil over – If you can’t fit everything into your pot – divide all your ingredients equally into two piles and put them in two pots! A crock pot works very well – then you don’t have to watch over your stock. Initially, bring everything to a boil, then set on lowest heat.
Bring it to boil – if a lot of scum rises to the top, you can skim it off with a spoon.
Then simmer the stock for at least 12 hours – and up to 72 hours. I lightly cover the pot (angle the lid so it isn’t firmly clamped down into the pot) to avoid excessive evaporation. You can always add more water to the pot to keep things covered over the cooking time.
Let it cool down, remove the bones with tongs or a slotted spoon, then pour everything through a colander or strainer into another pot or a big bowl. Use a spoon or ladle to press down on the veggies to extract as much bone broth from them as you can. Save your delicious bone broth and throw out all the solids. Cool it in the refrigerator, then divide into freezer containers (at this point, if you have cooked bits of meat or chicken that you want to add to the stock, you can, and you can puree the cooked chicken/meat etc. with the broth and then freeze the pureed meat broth.)
CHICKEN, DUCK AND TURKEY BONE BROTH
Actually, hardly any difference from the red meat bone broth – you use a little less vinegar, because poultry bones are softer and smaller, and chicken stock has a more delicate flavor than the heartier red meat bone broths.
TWO TECHNIQUES –
- Using leftover bones from a rotisserie chicken, or a Thanksgiving turkey or a roasted duck (as I mentioned, I usually collect 2 – 4 cooked chicken carcasses in the freezer and then make stock, so I’ll get a good amount for my efforts)
- Using a whole brand new chicken, or a couple of turkey legs, or a whole duck that hasn’t been cooked
LEFTOVER BONE BROTH
- You can just put the frozen bones in a big pot (or divide between two pots) Add water to cover.
- Add all the usual ingredients for stock making – 1 – 2 T. vinegar; one or two large onions, skin on, chopped up; 2 carrots scrubbed and chopped; 3 celery sticks, chopped, including leaves; 3 or more cloves garlic (unpeeled) (can chop or smash it) – a bunch of parsley and any other herbs (fresh or dried) and scraps and leftovers that you’d like to add (tomato sauce, squash, etc)
- Bring to a boil, simmer for 6 – 24 hours (the longer you simmer the more flavorful)
- Cool, package, freeze ( or keep a quart in the refrigerator for immediate use!)
FRESH POULTRY BONE BROTH
- 1 whole organic chicken (or free range) OR 2 – 3 pounds chicken parts – necks, backs, legs, wings (or even a cut up whole chicken) – also the “gizzards” if they come with the whole chicken – and, the secret ingredient which I have not yet explored – chicken feet! (around 4?) (evidently we export all the chicken feet to China – so it can be tricky to find them – especially organic)
- Place chicken or chicken parts in a large pot, with 4 quarts good water, 2 T. vinegar and all the veggies and herbs that are listed for the other bone broth recipes. You can let it stand for ½ hr to 1 hour (I think this allows the vinegar to do its thing)
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked. At this point, I remove the chicken from the pot, let it cool a bit, take all the meat off and then return the bones to the pot and continue simmering the bones (with the veggies etc) for 6 – 24 hours. Sally Fallon says to keep the chicken in the pot for 6 – 24 hours and then take the meat off and use it – personally, I think that chicken meat cooked that long will be pretty “spent” and not worth using in other dishes. So I like the “split” method – let the chicken cook to add flavor to the stock, but retrieve it while it is still good, remove all the meat to use in soup, enchiladas, etc, and then put the bones back in the pot and let the bones do the work : )
- When the stock is done, let it cool, strain through colander, throw out the solids, cool and store the stock.
With bone broth in the freezer you can make delicious soups, stews, veggie dishes, heal the sick and raise the dead J Stocks and bone broths really are the backbone of so many winter dishes – and they are great to heat and drink all by themselves, as you would tea!