Beef Bone Broth

One of the things you can never have enough of in the long winter months is bone broth of any kind because you simply can’t buy it. It comes from hours of slow simmering bones and extracting all the minerals and gelatin that are essential building blocks for the human body.

There is a reason you heal faster when consuming clear bone broth. Your body needed it. It happens to be one of the most frugal things you can make and helps ensure that no part of the animal goes to waste as well. Broths you buy at the store have additives, even the organic brands. They don’t have the stuff that comes from simmering bones. They may add flavor but they are certainly not feeding you and won’t nurse you back to health from illness.

The world of bone broth is new to me this year. In the past I have made stock from turkey carcasses but that was the extent of it. I didn’t do it correctly and the broths were never full flavored. I usually ended up throwing it out or adding bouillon to it which defeats the purpose.

This year I’m obsessed with bone broth in any way, shape or form. It can turn the simplest of soups into a grand affair and it’s also an elixir tasty enough to sip plain from an old coffee mug.

Beef Bone Broth

4 pounds organic beef soup bones
1/4 – 1/2 cup Rockridge apple cider vinegar
3 medium onions, in 1/8ths
3 carrots, chopped in 1″ pieces
3 celery stalks, chopped in 1″ pieces
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons of dried nettles

Roast the soup bones in a 350 degree oven until browned.

beef-soup-bones

Place the bones in a stock pot and cover them with the vinegar and enough enough filtered water to cover for about an hour to aid in the removal of minerals from the bones.

After an hour add the vegetables, peppercorns and nettles and bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer the stock for 24 – 72 hours, being sure to add more filtered water as needed. I leave mine simmering overnight, being sure it won’t run out of water. If you need to leave you can choose to leave it on simmer or turn it off while you are gone then turn it back on again when you return. As long as you bring it back to a boil again before consuming it should be fine. This is the old fashioned method for meat stock – the USDA will tell you if it’s been out for two hours to throw it away but if you ask your grandmother she will probably back me up here.

simmering-beef-bone-broth

When the stock is cooked as long as you want to let it cool, then strain the broth. Cool it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning remove the beef fat that has hardened and separated. Reserve the beef fat (tallow) and freeze for frying potato chips and other things.

At this point you can choose to freeze your broth or can it.

canned-fish-stock

To can, bring the broth back up to a boil for 10 minutes and can it following the directions for beef broth in the pressure canner booklet.

What do you do with beef broth?

Beef Pho

My friend Charlotte suggested using this for Pho which was a huge hit in my household. To make it I simply cooked some Rose brand egg noodles made in Seattle or Udon noodles would do nicely as well. I put those at the bottom of soup bowls. I heated a quart of beef broth and added some ginger, a pinch of allspice to mimic star anise, a large splash of fish sauce and soy sauce then added hot broth to the bowls of noodles. I quickly topped that with thinly sliced flank steak but any super thin cut of beef would do – the fattier the more flavorful generally. To that we added some grated lime zest that I had frozen from our winter key limes, some fresh sliced jalapeno and some cilantro. Ground peanuts would be great on this as well.

Beef Vegetable Soup – yet another simple and quick soup

To a quart of beef broth add sauteed chopped onion, carrot, celery, frozen beans, home canned tomatoes, nettles or chiffonade hearty winter greens, chopped potatoes, home canned corn, a hearty splash of Rockridge apple cider, pilsner or red wine, thinly sliced cabbage, turnip, parsnips or other root veggies. Really anything you might have overwintering in your garden or stored in your root cellar or pantry would do. If you have frozen cooked barley or other grain some of that would be great as well. I love to serve this with quick barley biscuits instead though.

French Onion Soup (or Freedom onion soup?)

Carmelize 1 pound of onion crescents slowly in butter by first putting them in a covered pan for about 10 minutes with a pinch of salt and thyme, then removing the lid and continuing to carmelize for about 25 minutes until they are dark and caremlized.  Stir in a quart of beef bone broth, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add pepper and adjust the salt and thyme.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.  To serve this in the French manner ladle the soup into oven safe ramekins or bowls.  Top with a slice of crusty baguette and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of local Gruyere style cheese.  I love the Mutschli from Pleasant Valley Dairy in Ferndale and they have a wholesale buying club program to keep your costs on local cheese down.  They also make a farmstead cheddar and lovely gouda.

Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the cheese is nicely browned and bubbly.

Also think mushroom risotto made with Lentz emmer grains and lovely fall mushrooms from Foraged and Found.

24 Responses to Beef Bone Broth

  1. Hey, thanks for posting this. I have all these frozen soup bones languishing in the freezer I’ve never really known what to do with. I’ll have to try it!

  2. Rebecca – one more thing I should have mentioned is that if you are at a loss for freezer space and don’t want to pressure can you can always reduce the broth down to demi glace consistency and then use it as boullion. That way it won’t take up much space in the freezer. Freezing it in ice cube trays would be smart too so you can take out a little at a time since it would be so strong then.

  3. Hi Annette,

    I’m trying to catch up with your post. As always, you are uber busy creating wonderful things for your family. :)

    I’ve been making stock every week since I joined a local farm’s csa, a few months ago, but I haven’t followed Fallon’s recipe because I just can’t get used to the idea of having the stove on for so many ours so I just simmer gently for up to six hours. Been making beef (from leg bones) and chicken (from chicken necks). Speaking of chicken necks, the ones I’m getting from the farm are huge and full of meat; I’m sure you know what I mean but most people would think I was cooking duck necks!

    Anyway, in one of your posts, can’t find it now, I think you wrote about having to buy butter? I buy one an a half gallons of raw milk per week which has enough cream to make a nice amount of butter (I had no idea homemade butter was so easy to make, btw). If the cream you get in your milk isn’t enough, perhaps you could ask the lady you buy the milk from if she could add more cream to yours or just bring a separate quart of cream?

    I’ve been looking at your beautiful photos. So inspiring! Thanks. :)

  4. Hi Auburn,

    You must have a ton of stock! I’ve come to peace with the stove being on but I was very nervous at first. Old timers say it’s ok to turn it off overnight and in the morning continue simmering for hours, which I’ve also done and then I’ve also put the lid on the pot and put it outside overnight since the temp is cool enough to refrigerate it.

    Our raw milk is pretty pricey to use for butter but I’ve really been wanting to try! I’ll put that on my list along with sprouting & dehydrating grain for flour. It’s fun to have new experiments to look forward to!

  5. :) No, I don’t have a lot of stock. :)

    I just make a large pot every ten days, which yields about a gallon of stock. I use about a quarter of that for soup (last week I made a very rich chicken & root veggie soup using the meat from the necks) and the rest of the stock, we usually have a bowl of it every night, with dinner (as S. Fallon and Dr. Enig recommend).

    I’ll try turning it off overnight when I make my next batch, yes, that way I could simmer it for 24 hours and, hopefully, get it to gel (so far only the chicken stock gets a bit gelatinous but not as much as I’d like it to, even when using a whole chicken).

    I know what you mean about the milk but, if you skim most of the cream from three half gallons, you’ll get about half a liter of cream which will yield about a third of its weight in butter and the rest in buttermilk that you can use for baking. I shake the cream in a quart-size mason jar with a plastic lid – the cream must be at room temperature. It takes about 15 minutes.

    Incidentally, what I learned this year about CSA chickens is that the butcher bags necks and hearts/livers at no charge to the farmer. The necks make the most flavorful stock, be sure to ask for them.

  6. Hi Auburn,

    We seem to eat so much soup this time of year that I can’t keep us in broth! My chicken farmer charges us extra for the stock kits so I simply use the carcass after roasting, or if bbq I typically don’t grill the back or wing tips and reserve those for stock as well. I do frequently buy feet at the farmer’s market since they are very inexpensive and feet & heads are the secret ingredient in getting the stock so gelatinous. You coule stand a metal knife up in my broth when it’s in the fridge. The fish stock was like that too because I used the heads.

    I have a little guy right now who refuses to eat mostly so I’m making sure he gets the cream off the top to drink. He doesn’t care for butter believe it or not so right now all the extra nutrient dense calories in the house first go to him. I give him the cream mixed with raw egg yolks from our pastured chickens and some honey & spices. Why waste that opportunity for just milk when he could be drinking a nutrient dense omelette?

    I can’t wait for this phase to pass though so we can make butter because I know the kids will love it (and then maybe if he made the butter he WOULD eat it!)

    For now I’m culturing my buttermilk for baking but it’s a much more efficient use of nutrients in general to make butter with it – you are right.

    I never thought I would put so much thought into nutrient distribution between family members and how to maximize resources s the one in need gets the most! Ah the joys of parenting…

  7. I’m a little obsessed with this to, lol! My goodness, it makes everything taste better and knowing all the health benefits behind it, what’s not to love! YUMM!

  8. You mentioned freezing the reduced stock in ice cube trays. I found some silicon trays at Sur La Table that are perfect. It’s much easier to get the cubes out of them than the plastic ones, plus they clean easily. I love adding a cube of (un-reduced) stock to simmering meat and vegetables and the reduced stock is great to have on hands for soups and stews.

  9. Hi Marcy – I LOVE those trays. I’m going to use them to make bath fizzies next week as gifts but the muffin pans work great too. The muffins aren’t as high since the sides are too slick for them to grab onto but I don’t waste paper on liners and when you make muffins in the metal trays without paper they all stick to the bottom.

    It’s so simple to freeze stock in cubes – I don’t know why I didn’t think to do that before. Suddenly when you spend so much time cooking food you realize you can’t bear to waste any of it. Oh the things I’ve thrown away…

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  12. Hi everyone – I’m making lifestyle changes and am prepared to make my first round of broth. As a former “takeout food” guy, I’m not the world’s best cook but I can follow directions pretty well. The one thing I can’t find is how much water to actually put in? 4 pounds of bones seems like a lot for broth, so I’m assuming I’ll be putting in quite a bit of water?

  13. Hi Eric,

    Congratulations! The beauty of this is it’s completely flexible. I use a large stockpot but you could use fewer bones and a smaller pot. I like to make my broth strong so I can dilute as needed, or I can boil it down to a syrupy bouillon to freeze and add by the ice cube sized square. That way I don’t have to can or freeze all that excess water. But it’s just a matter of personal preference, number of bones and pan size. Good luck!

  14. Joanna Rindal

    I just tried to make your bone broth and have a few questions. First the bones that came with my cow labeled soup bones have more meat on them then the ones in your picture. I got “dog” bones that look like the ones in your picture. Wondering your thoughts there. then I simmered for 72 hours and after cooling in the fridge it was more the consistency of jello rather than broth. Did I do something wrong? Or is it just really concentrated? How do I thin to use? Thanks!

  15. Hi Joanna – you are lucky then! That gel set is the sign of a highly nutritious broth and the extra meat will only add to the flavor, but you can always pull the meat out when it’s done and save it for burritos because after simmering for a day or two it won’t have much flavor. Gelatin is actually made from bones, and then it is denatured so that it has no color or flavor. You just made real jello! Beef flavor jello. ;)

  16. Great, I will try it out then! Just saw your Facebook post, sorry to here you might be leaving the city. You are quite the inspiration!

  17. Thanks Joanna – but it means we can have the community owned ag this year! I have campsites planned so folks can come work and am researching dry gardening techniques so we can make it low maintenance so everyone doesn’t need to drive out all the time and we can make it more fun!

  18. Hello! Okay so I finally made bone broth and I too am lucky that I made beef jello! Do I just jar it up and freeze like that and when I re-heat it’ll liquify? Thanks

  19. Sarah Yay! You certainly can, or you can can with a pressure canner, or you can continue to boil it way down to syrup and freeze in ice cube trays before freezing to save space. Add one cube per cup of water to make reconstituted stock. It will liquify when you heat it!

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  23. I follow a similar method. Like someone else mentioned, I turn mine off at night and then back on again in the morning. We scrimp and save every scrap of food around here. I keep a container in the freezer where I toss bits of onion, carrot, celery, and other broth ingredients salvaged from the chopping board (or rejected by little ones). Then when the bones are available I pull out what I’ve collected and supplement anything that’s a little short. Makes an already economical food even cheaper! :-)

  24. Angela I love that you save whatever. I’ve been known to collect bones off plates before for the next stew pot. But I always wait for the guests to leave first. :) It’s amazing how frugally you can eat once you learn how, isn’t it? Thanks so much for commenting!

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