The weather has turned colder this week so I was thinking about how to use some of my bone broth so vegetable soup came to my mind. I had a request for the bone broth recipe I wrote about in a recent post. I used several sources to create my own recipe so here it is. I hope you enjoy it!
- 4 pounds beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them such as ox tail, short ribs, or knuckle bones, (cut in half by a butcher)
- 2 medium unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 medium leek, end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 garlic head, excess skins removed, top chopped off to expose the cloves, cut in half
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns (you can also add some fresh thyme or dried mushrooms, even 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste)
- 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
- Water (I use filtered, but it probably wouldn’t matter that much)
Special equipment: 6-quart (or larger) stockpot or a large slow cooker
- Blanch – cover the bones with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them cook at an aggressive simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place beef bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Then take out of the oven, toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 more minutes. Place any crisped brown bits on the bottom of the pan (loosen them with a little water and a metal spatula) and pour into the stockpot or slow cooker for added flavor.
- Place roasted bones and vegetables into your pot. Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Make sure you added the browned bits from the roasting. Add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. You don’t want them to float.
- Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally. (I rarely have to do this because I blanch the bones first.)
- Simmer for at least 8 hours but I have done it for up to 2 – 3 days. I do not cut it off at night if it is on the stove top. The longer it simmers, the better your broth will taste. If you use the crock-pot, I start it on high until it begins to simmer, and then reduce the setting to low and leave it alone. (Because the bones used are thick and hardy, they have a lot of flavor to offer up. This is in contrast to the bones in chicken stock, which are smaller and thinner and could disintegrate after a few hours and won’t add much flavor.)
- You can add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged.
- Once you have determined you think the broth is complete, cool it as quickly and efficiently as possible. First, remove the bones with a slotted spoon and/or tongs. Strain the stock into a large bowl (this will remove the vegetables and any small pieces of meat or bones left from the beef bones). I usually add some ice to help the broth lose heat more rapidly. (The ice does not dilute the broth if you roasted the bones and simmered them for a very long time.) Then scoop the broth into mason jars to freeze. (If you used bones that created a lot of fat, I usually pour it in my fat separator to maximize the broth in my mason jars. It is okay to leave it you want the additional fat.)
- You know you simmered it long enough if the texture is gelatinous. If not, it is still delicious!
- I usually add a little Himalayan salt or sea salt to bring out the flavors.
My favorite method is using a large stockpot. Each time, the broth has been gelatinous and flavorful. (Once the gelatinous broth is heated it melts to make a smooth broth.) I especially love to use the broth in vegetable soup, to cook rice, and just about anything else I need a broth. This is a photo of the bone broth in my vegetable soup recipe I am cooking this afternoon. It gives it a rich and hearty flavor. Look below the photo for general tips in making the bone broth.
- Try to use several types of beef bones. Grass fed beef is better, but not necessary for a delicious flavor.
- Don’t skip the blanching step. It removes any impurities (nasty bits) from the bones. If you are using the right bones, there will be some nasty bits. I usually have to skim off scum or foam at this stage.
- ALWAYS ROAST THE BONES. This browns and caramelizes them and this results in better flavor. This is really the most important step. I cook mine up to 40 minutes total and even longer sometimes taking them to the edge of “too done.”
- Do not skip the vinegar step; it draws the minerals out of the bone.
- Make sure to deglaze your roasting pan with hot water and get all of the brown bits, pour this liquid into the pot and then add additional water to cover the bones and vegetables. See * in the next step.
- Use a large enough container to cook your broth. When you *add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. You don’t want them to float. Too much liquid will result in a watered down taste.
- Make sure you simmer it long enough. I have read some people simmer no less than 12 hours and no longer than 72 hours. I cooked mine for 60 hours.
- Don’t let the hot broth cool slowly.
If you use a crock-pot the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly as with a stockpot. So be careful not to add too much. Make sure the lid is weighted down and that simmering can’t move the lid around or you will have water everywhere.