I used to think it was too much trouble to make my own broth. I purchased good quality stock from my butcher made from naturally-raised animals from local farms. But ever since I started making my own broth which is simmered between 6 to 24 hours (sometimes up to 48 hrs!) depending on type of bone, I realized how amazingly flavorful and collagen-rich my own homemade broth was. It is evidenced by the jello-ish consistency when cold. And ladies, you KNOW you want all the collagen AM I RIGHT? If beautiful skin, nails and hair isn't enough of a reason, it is also said that bone broth is dense in nutrients, vitamins, keratins and heals your gut. And it tastes amazing - sipped from a mug, in a simple bowl of noodle soup or used in all of your favorite recipes calling for broth or stock such as braises, stews and sauces. It has the power to elevate every single thing you make by injecting deep and rich flavor. I'm crazy about bone broth! Are you convinced yet?
1. When purchasing bones from the butcher, don't shy away from the collagen-rich parts like chicken feet, wings and necks for chicken broth or marrow bones, knuckles and ox tail for beef broth.
2. Save every single bone from meals cooked at home. Do not ever throw them away. No one in my family is allowed to suck on the bones ;) Once the meat is pulled off and enjoyed, I toss the bones into a ziptop freezer bag and freeze until I am ready to make a batch of broth. Rinse off the bones if there is a lot of sauce on them, depending on how they were cooked. Usually I am adding about a pound of these saved bones to fresh bones purchased at the butcher.
3. Some people roast their bones in a 400f oven first until they get very brown (how long depends on the type/size of bones being used). This extracts more flavor. I tend to skip this step to condense and simplify the process (I make it often) and the resulting broth is still deeply flavorful. Definitely do it if you don't mind the extra step.
4. If freezing in a glass container, make sure to leave a good amount of head space or else it may explode as the air inside expands during the freezing! I aim for just under where the glass begins to curve in on a mason jar (see picture below). I have wept over cracked containers and wasted broth a few too many times. Silicon ice cube trays with large compartments are fantastic too for an assortment of smaller frozen portions to use in sauces etc.
Recipe makes about 5 litres of broth, give or take depending on evaporation.
3.5-lb to 4-lb of bones (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb etc) - see notes above
2 or 3 handfuls of any vegetable odds and ends you have on hand like onions, carrots, celery, leeks etc.
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1. Put the bones in a large stock pot and fill with cold tap water up to 2" above the bones, but leaving room at the top of the pot to avoid boil-over. Place the pot on the stove over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil and foam starts rising to the surface. Boil for another few minutes. You should see foam at the top, this is the scum from the bones.
2. You have 2 options to rid the scum:
a. First option (my preferred): Dump the entire contents of the pot (bones and water) into a colander inside the sink. Be careful of the steam and not to splash yourself! Wash the pot thoroughly, you don't want any of that scum inside your beautiful broth. Place the bones back into the clean stock pot and fill with fresh cold tap water up to 2" above the bones. Bring the water back to a rolling boil over high heat.
b. Second option: Do not dump out the original water. Turn heat down to simmer. Skim the scum continuously with a mesh sieve, rinsing the sieve out in a bowl filled with water in between, until no more scum rises to the top.
3. Once the scum has been removed, toss in your vegetables and pour in a splash of vinegar. The vinegar is said to help extract trace minerals from the bones during cooking. Don't worry you won't taste it in the final broth.
4. Adjust the heat until you are getting a very gentle simmer with the lid on, in other words, at a level when the bubbles barely break the water's surface. [ Update: previously my direction was to simmer for the first 15-20 minutes before turning it down for the remaining time but I have stopped doing that completely, to avoid any breakdown of the proteins in the gelatin which can happen due to excessive heat ].
5. For small bones like chicken, simmer for anywhere between 6-12 hours but I like to go 24hrs. For larger bones like beef, pork and lamb, simmer between 12 to 24 hours, or more until the bones are softened. A good way to check if you've extracted as much out of the bones as possible is to see if the bone gives when you squeeze it between your fingers.
6. Strain the broth over a fine mesh strainer to ensure all the bones bits are removed. Use right away or cool and store in the fridge for a few days, or freeze for up to 6 months. See notes above for freezing tips.