Basic Bone Broth

basic bone broth

Bone broth became a health craze several years ago. But it’s one of those foods that has been around for eons. It was once simply the way soups and sauces were begun — with a nutrient-dense liquid made at home from what was left of another meal. Now it’s touted as a cure-all to be drunk as part of a wellness routine. However you incorporate bone broth in your diet, I’m hoping this recipe demystifies the process. Making broth couldn’t be simpler. It’s a great way to reduce food waste, to save money, and to make sure your meal is both healthful and delicious.

One more bit of explanation. There’s much confusion over the terms “stock” and “broth.” (Just check out the soup aisle at the grocery store!) Technically, “stock” is the liquid made from boiling animal bones and vegetables together. “Broth” is a liquid made from meat and vegetables (not necessarily bones); it is cooked for a shorter period of time. If you choose a vegetarian version, it will be “broth,” not “stock.” Part of the confusion is that “bone broth” is really stock!

This recipe is very loose, hoping that you’ll use it as a way to extend the life of the food you’ve been making in a given week. The more high quality your ingredients (organic vegetables, grass-fed meats) the more healthful your stock will be. I’ll give two versions — one cooks for longer, which extracts more nutrients from the ingredients and will have a more gelatinous texture (this is your “bone broth”). The other is quicker and works just fine for soups. Store either version in glass jars in your refrigerator. For a longer shelf life, you can freeze your mason jars, just make sure there’s room at the top for the liquid to expand or you’ll be cleaning glass — and all of your hard work — out of your freezer.

Makes 2-3 quarts of stock. Double if you want more.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (or fat of your choice: lard, bacon grease and butter all work)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped veggies (these can be the ends and peels of onions, carrots and celery that you’ve collected in a baggie in your fridge throughout the week. Be resourceful: cabbage cores and broccoli stems, the tops of peppers. Nothing should be spoiled but any vegetable part will do.
  • 4-5 whole cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh herbs from your garden or leftover from your week of cooking. Try thyme, oregano and rosemary, as these are mostly available year round in your herb garden. You can also use dried herbs, but cut the amount in half.
  • 2 pounds animal bones and bits (save the carcass of your roasted chicken or the bones from your pork chops in a bag in the freezer; defrost in the fridge just before you’re ready to make stock. Meat, skin, necks, feet are all fine to include).
  • 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. fine sea salt
  • 4-6 quarts water for soup stock or 12 cups for bone broth
  • For bone broth only, add 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (this helps break down the bones, making collagen more available in your broth)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add veggies and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes, until veggies begin to soften.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours. For bone broth, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for roughly 12 hours. It will reduce by 1/3 to 1/2.
  • Strain stock into large pot or bowl. (Careful, it’s very hot.) Scoop stock into glass jars for storage.