The health benefits of bone broth go beyond your mom’s chicken noodle soup when you are sick. It is also great for your joints and for your gut health as well! Did you know, the collagen in the broth can help us look younger?! Whoop! I’ll take seconds please! Memory issues… by golly, bone broth helps improve cognitive function too!
I hate to have stuff go to waste and bone broth is essentially random bones with vegetables and some seasonings. You can even keep a bag of vegetable ends/scraps in your freezer and save them up until you have enough to make some broth. Super economical and if you don’t want a meat broth, use the veg scraps for a vegetable broth.
My husband and father-in-law have a small butchering business on the side and every once in awhile have a cow or steer to butcher (they mainly do venison). I realized that all those bones they were discarding were quite valuable and I needed to get my behind in gear and use them!
This year they have butchered quite a few beef so I rounded up my stock pot, filled it up with bones (like a lot…) and topped it off with water. Let it simmer all day and voilà beef broth. Well that’s what I thought at least. That is until my sister (the culinary grad…) had me come over and help her can the broth she made. It was a rich dark brown and smelled fantastic. Like an amazing, mouth watering, au jus. I wanted to whip up a big French Dip sandwich and go to town…. Mine was a sad pale golden color and sure didn’t smell as fantastic. Umm… whoops. I guess maybe I should have used a recipe…
Take 2… Another cow butchered and more bones. This time I’m going to do it right. Got the fancy-dancy culinary school recipe… made some tweaks (sorry Erin, I just don’t have time for a sachet… into the pot go all the seasonings). Weighing vegetables and bones? Nah… this looks close enough. Throw in that previous broth and some water….It’s how I roll in the kitchen…. Two Nescos going and I knew this would turn out great! And it did! Sort of… one Nesco did. The other one had a slight metallic odor but my tired Mommy Brain said it would be fine so I mixed the batches together. And guess what… the smell got worse. And worse… Ruined. Two Nescos of broth and my previous sad, pale broth. Down the drain. I went to bed, defeated. *I figured out later the one Nesco is not working properly*
Take 3… Of course I couldn’t say no when yet another beef came into the shop. I’m going to get it right, darn it! And I did! Its yummy, glorious dark broth! I weighed the bones and actually measured the water! What!? Who does that? Well you should… nothing worse than throwing a couple days worth of work down the drain over an extra few minutes in the kitchen. Lesson learned. Especially if you are buying your bones at the store. They can be pricey.
For the record, I always just guesstimate my chicken broth and it always turns out great. With beef, if you add too little water you WILL end up with Jell-O, just forewarning you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just has lots of collagen in it.
- 10 lbs Beef soup bones
- 2 gal (8L) Water
- 2 Large Onions, quartered
- 4 Celery Stalks, cut in half
- 4 Large Carrots, washed and quartered
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil (vegetable oil would be fine too)
- 1 Pint tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp Dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp Peppercorns
- 6-8 Parsley stems or 2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 Whole cloves or 1/4 tsp dried cloves
- Salt to taste
In deep sided pan (a broiler pan works great) roast beef bones in 425ºF oven for 45 minutes or until browned. This most likely will smoke up your kitchen a little bit. If you do not have a deep sided pan, make sure to put a sheet pan on the bottom rack to catch any drippings. Remove bones and place onions, celery, and carrots on same pan, drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until they are nicely caramelized (you can also choose to do this on the cooktop). Add beef bones and vegetables to large Nesco roaster*. Add water, tomatoes, and seasonings. Turn on to low or 225ºF for 8 hours (or even longer is better… up to a couple days). Let cool for a couple hours then strain. Discard bones and vegetables. Place broth in large bowl and put in refrigerator until fully cooled. This will allow all of the fat to form on the top. Remove and discard fat. *Optional: strain the broth again using a cheese cloth to get out all small bits of seasonings.* At this point you are done! You can either freeze in portioned out freezer bags (freeze flat for easier storage) or in freezer containers. You can also pressure can the broth as well.
*If you do not choose to use a Nesco type roaster, you can also use a large stockpot on the oven. Simmer for 8 hours on med-low.