How to make Bone Broth (Beef Stock)
Bone Broth – Once you’ve made it once and know-how it’s super easy and takes about 10 minutes to get it on the stove. After that, the rest is just skimming, straining, picking the meat and storing.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a basic recipe of essentially animal bones, meat and water with or without vegetables or flavourings (aromatics).
If you love the Paleo-style of eating, you would have come across the paleo-friendly bone broth no doubt. If you’re Nose-to-tail eating bone broth is the last use of the beast from which all the flavour is extracted, and the last amount of nutrients retrieved.
Bone broth or how Chefs call it Stock or in French ‘de bouillon de bœuf’ is made from the bones of animals. Some articles will say it can be made from any animal but in reality, is only made from a few animals. Beef, chicken, duck, pork/ham, and only some game meats like deer, pheasant or wild duck are most often made. Lamb and many wild animals produce a stock that is too strong, gamey and unpalatable. Almost dirty tasting.
What about Fish Stock?
Fish and shellfish stocks and soups are also very common, especially all along the Mediterranean. Fish and shellfish stocks cook in around 20-40minutes depending on the animal used and size of the bones.
But here I focus just on the bovine type-beef as that is what I always cook, and it comes with a little bonus so read on.
The bone broth can be used almost anywhere you would use water in cooking. I’ve used beef stock to reheat lentils. At home of course, not in the restaurant. It can be used to cook and enrich braises of any type, make a brown sauce, gravy, soups like consommé, as a drink snack/aperitif or for breakfast.
Health Benefits of Bone Broth
Beef stock is often recommended as a cure-all but of course, this is misleading. Nothing cures all.
You may have heard of it sitting high on the menu of the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) diet for conditions such as autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or in promoting gut health, easing joint pain and fighting inflammation.
Healthline.com states that “Some people feel they have benefited from the GAPS diet, though these reports are anecdotal.” Furthermore, Healthline states “if you are interested in trying the GAPS diet make sure you seek help and support from a medical professional.”
Bone broth as an accompaniment to your diet is totally safe and contains some collagen, bone marrow, fat, amino acids and minerals. It’s much like eating the meat of course with far less of everything. Interestingly it does contain different ratios of amino acids to muscle meat and some collagen peptides. So, we could say ‘may help with joint repair faster than just eating muscle meats by itself’.
But what does the research say?
The research on collagen supplementation is limited with some small benefits for osteoarthritis patients and modest benefits for those with rheumatoid arthritis. However, these studies were conducted using the supplemental form of hydrolysed collagen or in the form of an undenatured type II collagen.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, it is now available in tablets, capsules and instant broth which is good for those who can’t cook. However, for the rest of us who love cooking it takes all the fun, flavour and skill out of making a beautiful stock. And well who knows which is better.
So, here’s my conclusion.
Even if the benefits are small and slow-acting, and maybe more of a preventive aid than a cure, which is what a balanced diet focused on nutrients rather than quantity is, you’re very likely to enjoy stock additions.
And what the hell, if you like cooking and want to get more nutrients into your diet I can highly recommend this for some variety. Plus, I find it respectful to eat as much of the beast as you can.
A nose-to-tail type of eating philosophy. We already waste so much.
So, what’s in the recipe?
I want to give you the simplest bare-bones recipe to keep it easy. It will give many dishes a new depth of flavour and nicer lingering mouthfeel just like you’re eating out. At the end will be a few variations if you want to fancy it up.
BASIC INGREDIENTS FOR BEEF BROTH
Choose one or a mix of all the following bones
- Beef soup bones
- Marrow bones
- Knuckles, ribs, neck, etc.
- Water to cover
Place all the bones and water into a pot. Bring to a simmer
Skim the scum off the top. (do not worry about the fat as it will be easier to take off later). Then add your veggies, aromatics and any extras.
Simmer very slowly (the surface of the water should be moving very slightly or some steam rising).
DO NOT BOIL!
Cook for 24 to 48 hours. To test if it’s ready, using a pair of tongs take a piece out. The meat of any connective tissue should fall from the bone very easily.
Strain the stock, and let it cool on the bench for an hour or so until it’s NOT going to steam up and make your fridge warm inside.
The next day there will be a layer of fat over the top. If you’re Keto great, you now have another fat source. If you’re just eating a normal balanced diet, you’ll only be able to eat a little every day. Usually, I bin about ¾’s of it.
Underneath the fat is a clear jelly-like broth.
Fat removed can be used for frying meat and chicken.
- Vinegar – some recipes call for vinegar or some acid, but I never bother. They say it helps to break down the collagen. But unless you’re cooking pigs head I don’t think it helps that much. Time and patience on the stove are all you need.
- Vegetables – peeled onions, carrots, celery. As much as you want or can fit in. Leave them either whole or very large pieces. If too small they will turn to vegetable mush and cloud your stock.
- Aromatics (per kg of bones) – 1 clove garlic, 1 sprig of thyme, 5-10 parsley stalks, 3 whole black or white peppercorns, 1 small bay leaf.
- Extras – mushrooms, beetroots, ham trimmings, bacon trimmings, bacon rind, prosciutto or Parma ham trimmings/skin
This recipe will depend greatly on the size of your stockpot.
Basically, squeeze as many bones (and vegetables, aromatics) into your pot as you can and cover every bit of bone with water.
Make as much as you can at once. It keeps for 5-7 days in the fridge and 3-6 months in the freezer (or longer) providing you keep it clean and at a constant cold temperature (Fridge < 5°C).
When I say clean, I mean when you’re using the stock use a clean spoon to scoop it out and put the remainder straight back into the fridge when not needed.
If you make a chicken stock or even a fish stock this will not keep as long. Fish 1-3 days. Chicken 4-5 days. The only reason the fish won’t keep as long as because the fish is never that fresh. If the fish is super fresh, like days old it will keep just as long beef.
Some bones will have meat on them, and some will be massive with no meat like knuckles and marrow bones. Experiment and ask your butcher to cut them smaller if you need. The smaller they are the more you’ll fit into your stockpot and the richer, thicker it will be (more nutrients, collagen, gelatin [cooked collagen]).
DON’T MISS THIS BONUS
Collect any meat. And sometimes there is a lot. Do not brag to your butcher or anyone else as they’ll increase the price!! 😉 Use this meat to make a Bolognese, a stew, curry or whatever you feel like. This stuff is better than the stock. But it’s about wastage too. So pick the bones clean.
IMPORTANT FOOD AND FIRE SAFETY
Because this will be cooking on the stove overnight, while you’re asleep and at work be aware of these safety precautions.
- Don’t leave anything flammable within metres from the stove that could blow on to the flame or electric hob.
- If you’re using gas make sure if the flame goes out there is an automatic gas shut-off safety mechanism. If not, you will have to be diligent with not allowing the flame to blow out. I’ve personally never had an issue with the flame going out.
- If the flame and gas stops and you don’t notice and the temperature of the stock never reaches 100’C or goes cold for at least 3-4 hours it may be spoiled and most likely gone sour and dangerous to yourself. Do not let it go cold until you have finished. We have a saying in the kitchen “If in doubt, chuck it out”.
- If you think you’ve made more than you think you can use. Freeze some for later or give it away.
So, there you have it!
Post your images on Facebook so I can check them out. I’d love to see your results. Especially how much meat you salvaged and how you used that! It will be our secret 😉 Tag me or (hashtag) #thefutureisfit and ask a question about your stock or what to do with it.
Happy cooking and for any advice, tips, strategies to do with anything food and fitness I’m always up for a chat.
May your future be fit!
Last edited February 2020