Monday, October 24, 2011

Beef Broth

Beef Broth is a staple at our house. It is great served on the side with a sandwich and can be used in lots of recipes. So when I can get my hands on grass-fed beef bones, I break out the pans and crock pot and get a batch going as fast as I can. It smells amazing as it cooks and the rich broth is so good for you.

Since I order beef in bulk, I recently acquired several bags of beef bones from grass fed cows. This is the best type of bones to get and will have the most vitamins and minerals within the marrow and meat.
You can ask your butcher to cut them up for you so that the marrow is exposed as often as possible in each piece. It really doesn't matter if they are meaty or not. The nutrition and flavor is so high above anything you can get at the store that the effort is always worth it.

Here is how I make mine.
Place your beef bones in a large roasting pan and place in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. Pictured is a batch of about 5lbs worth.
Bones are ready to roast
Once the bones are brown, you can do one of three things. You can transfer them and all the drippings to a crockpot, you can transfer them to a stockpot or you can continue using the oven to create your broth. I typically transfer to the crockpot as I do not want to burn that much electricity to make my broth, but if you have another heating source(like wood for example) for your stove, it may make more sense to leave it there. I also like the ability for the crock pot to work on its own. I would never leave my stove on if I had to leave the house, but leave my crock pots going quite a bit. 
Back to the process...Make sure you transfer all the drippings that are on the bottom of the pan. This is pure flavor. You can add a little water to the pan to loosen the particles and get them into your crockpot.

Roasted bones are ready to transfer to a crockpot
Cover your bones with water and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. By splash I mean a tablespoon or so. Cook this on high until the water begins to boil, then lower to low for about 24 hours.  You want all the marrow to be cooked out of the bones and with beef bones it takes this long. You can determine this by looking at the bones after they cook overnight. If you still see marrow and the bones are not brittle yet, you can cook it a bit longer.

Once the bones have cooked completely, you can strain the broth, or scoop out the bones with a slotted spoon. I prefer this method, leaving bits and pieces of meat in my broth. I allow the crock pot to cool and place it in the refrigerator. 24 hours more and all the fat will be solidified on the surface. Lift this off and place in a freezer bag. This is tallow and is wonderful for putting in recipes that need fat. I keep a bag in my freezer at all times. The remaining broth will most likely be in a gelatinous state. You can place this in a freezer bag as well, refrigerate in a jar to use within a week, or you can pressure can it for future use. I will typically save up several batches in the freezer and can mine rather than use up the freezer space long term.

So it's really that easy. You are going to be so pleased with how its tastes, and once you see how easy it is, I am sure you will want to make this again and again and will start looking for bones to roast!  By the way, if you have a bone from a pot roast, you do not need to brown the bone, just place it in water and simmer. Since these bones are typically very small, you can save them in the freezer until you have enough to cook a decent sized batch.

No comments: