There’s little that screams “fall food” quite like bone broth — well, maybe pumpkin pie. An unctuous and deeply satisfying cup of broth really soothes the soul as the leaves fall and the rain slaps at our windows.
Rendering a quality broth from beef bones takes time though. There are short cuts — like pressure cookers — but the real-deal broth is really just about low and slow cooking. Some recipes will tell you that you need at least 24 hours or even 48 hours to make a “proper” bone broth. While the longer time does mean more depth of flavor, you really can get this done in about ten hours, maybe even nine. That’s what we’re going to do today, a nice 10-hour middle ground.
Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that bone broth recipes are like anything in cooking. There are as many recipes and tricks as there are kitchens in the world. This is how I do it, and it gets the job done without taking forever (barely). It’s also a delicious end product that properly turns to jelly when cooled, revealing that it has the collagen folks that health-conscious folks love.
Okay, let’s get simmering.
Makes about 2 liters or 1/2 gallon.
- 5-lbs. beef bones
- 2 large carrots
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 leek
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 1 sprig of fresh sage
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 4 Mushrooms
- 10 black peppercorns
- Whole garlic bulb
- Salt + Pepper to taste
When it comes to which bones to use, I just get scrap bones from the butcher. You don’t want marrow-heavy bones as that’ll add too much fat and create a metallic-tasting broth. You do want a little sinew, fat, and meat still on the bone but only barely. You can see the scrap bones I used below.
As for the rest, it’s really up to you. If you want to add in some spice, throw some dried chilis in there. The one thing you really need is vinegar. The vinegar helps pull the nutrients from the bones and adhere them to the broth, creating a rich and nourishing final product.
What You’ll Need:
- Large stockpot
- Cookie sheet with rack
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- Large spoon
- Extra pot
- Airtight container
- Cheesecloth (optional)
- Preheat your oven to around 400 to 450f.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil and then place a wire rack on it.
- Place the bones on the rack and hit with salt and pepper.
- Roast the bones for about 90 minutes, or until well-browned.
- In the meantime, roughly chop all the veg and herbs. Cut the garlic bulb in half, exposing the cloves along the horizontal.
- Load the roasted bones into a large stockpot (I had to use two).
- Add the herbs and veg and top with cold water.
- On low heat, bring the pot to a very, very bare simmer.
- As the water heats up, skim the scum from the top of the pot with a large spoon and discard. You’ll need to do this for the first hour-ish.
- Once the scum stops rising to the top, place an ajar lid over the pot and make sure the heat is on its lowest setting.
- Let it barely simmer for another nine-ish hours, checking every hour or so. Skim any scum as it comes up. Try not to jostle or stir the pot. Just let it be.
- The water level will go down anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 after nine hours. Then, you’re done.
- Set up a sieve with a cheesecloth (optional) over a smaller stockpot.
- Use the spoon to scoop out all the big bones and any sinew that’s come loose.
- Run the bone broth through the sieve to strain all residual bits from the broth.
- Pour the bone broth into a waiting vessel that you can seal and refrigerate.
- The next day, a thin layer of fat will have formed on the top of the bone broth. Use a spoon to remove if you like.
- Once reheated, run the bone broth through a coffee filter to further filter the fine particulates from the broth before serving with a pinch of salt and pepper.
I usually skip those last two steps. I like my bone broth a little murky. We’re talking about bone broth here and not a demi-glace or consomme. It’s supposed to be down and dirty.
If you’ve done this right, the bone broth will turn into a jelly when you cool it down. All that gelatin should have leached out of the bones and connective tissues. This is a photo of what you’re aiming for.
Overall, this is delicious. I’ve done the 24-hour and 48-hour cooks before (only in pro kitchens) and, sure, those are deeper than this. But, I’d argue not by enough to make it worth the time at home. Maybe if I was making a demi, I’d go the full 24-hours but, again, that’s not why we’re here (also, this will make a perfectly good demi-glace base).
The sweetness of the veg comes through the heft of bones and beef. It’s deeply delicious and so nourishing. I can’t wait to drink a mug of this for breakfast every day this week. It really only needs a flake or two of salt to really pop.