As far as I’m concerned, cooking for health starts with a nutritious base.
That’s why when the holiday ham is down to the last few scraps of meat on the bone, it goes into a pot of water –just like the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving did a few weeks before—and very like what just happened this week to the pastured beef soup bones that were in the freezer.
I love to make bone broth, especially from beef bones. The rich, simmering scent even makes me feel healthy. Here’s what I do:
I start with some meaty soup bones and a package of stew beef. We buy beef from a local farmer, so I don’t worry about where it may have come from. I slice up a couple of onions and cut up two or three carrots, drizzle olive oil over everything, stirring to be sure all the meat is coated, too. Then, I roast it all in a shallow pan at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, I plug in my large crock pot.
After the meat and bones are roasted to bring out the flavor, I put them into the crock-pot, pour some hot water into the roasting pan and scrape up the little pieces that might have stuck on. This goes in the crock-pot, too. I pour about a quarter cup of cider vinegar in, and then fill the pot with cold water—up to about an inch from the top. Are you stuck on the cider vinegar addition?
I read somewhere that adding cider vinegar helps the bones release their nutrients as they cook. (If you aren’t sure where your beef is from, you might skip this step.)
Turn the crock-pot on HIGH until the mixture begins to boil, and then turn to LOW and just leave it—overnight is best, 24 hours won’t hurt it a bit. You want this bone broth to just simmer. If you see a bubble “blurping” up every once in a while—that’s just right. If some scum or fat comes to the top, you could carefully take that off with the edge of a spoon, but I’ve never bothered.
When you think your broth is done—and seriously—24 hours is not too long, pour it through a fine strainer into a clean pot. Refrigerate until cool, and then carefully remove the fat that will have accumulated on the top. You can use this for cooking, if you like, just don’t dump it down the drain. The chilled broth should be almost gelatin like—dark and rich.
The broth really is good for you. All that calcium, phosphorus and magnesium from the bones is there for your body to easily absorb so your own bones are stronger. There’s collagen that can give you healthy skin and hair, too, and electrolytes that carry the electrical messages to your muscles and nerves. Trace minerals, gelatin –all good things.
You can use bone broth in so many ways –we love it as a base for gravy and sauces. I’ve cooked rice in it and just heated it up as a nutritious drink for the fellow sick in bed with the flu. (Here’s a link to a site that gives you 50 uses for bone broth!)
I save the meat that was left when I strained the broth and cut it into bite-sized pieces. I like to take some of the broth and add it to a pot with sliced carrots, celery, onions and a handful of chopped parsley. Bring it all to a boil, add the meat and a handful of barley and then simmer until the vegetables are done. Just the right thing to have on the back of the stove on a cold winter’s day.
“Bone Broth!” is shared with “Mostly Homemade Mondays Linky-Party”.