Here's how I see it; My business makes bone broth. We pride ourselves on the sourcing and ethics behind each and every ingredient we use. We also refuse to make short cuts. We cook it for 24 hours and every ingredient we use is whole and in it's original form.
However, Bone Broth is one of the most wonderful things to make yourself. Every time I made a batch at home I found it not only delicious and nourishing, but also hugely rewarding and satisfying to know I was using an ingredient that might have otherwise been thrown away or worse incinerated to avoid expensive waste removal and land fill.
Bones, despite the sometimes gruesome or morbid imagery they can sometime conjure; are a hugely untapped source of nutrition.
Despite our mission to buy well sourced bones and create great products, we also want to encourage and drive more people to opt for organic products, to use more of the animal, to challenge themselves to overcome any resistance to understand where meat comes from and to embrace and support ethical farming.
Making bone broth is easy if you have the right equipment or set up, you also need time. But once you've made it a few times you can play around with it, add and remove things as you wish and make it your own.
There's really no secret, and we'll even refer you to the bone and vegetable suppliers we use so you really can replicate it at home.
One final tip. If you're cooking organic meat at home and there's a bone or carcass leftover - put them in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch of broth. They'll soon add up.
Serves: 4 people
Time: 10-30 hours
Bones: Ask your butcher or supplier to make sure they're small enough to fit in your pan.. You can decide the mix, beef and chicken work well together. Lamb and beef bones are more fatty and marrow bones are less gelatinous and more flavoursome and fatty. Stock bones with cartilage have more gelatine which will cause the broth to gel more which is what many strive for and if you have the choice a little meat left on the bone never goes amiss. Have a play around with a mix and work out what you like. For heath and safety reasons I'd suggest using a slow cooker. You can buy slow cookers quite easily these days with plenty available online.
In my experience if you want to use the hob of your oven, leaving it on the very lowest heat setting overnight with enough water in the pan will been fine, but do this at your own risk. If you've never made it before it might be worth starting your first batch in the morning and ending the cook at night after 12-14 hours so you can gauge the temperature of your lowest setting on your oven and understand how safe it might be to leave it overnight next time. Every oven varies.
However if you want to cook it overnight, I'd recommend starting it just before bed so the water level is at it's highest and risk of the pan drying is much lower.
This recipe is for around 1 litre of broth, but you can certainly increase this depending on your volume of bones and the size of your cooking vessel. See what capacity you have, but a large saucepan as a rule of thumb normally caters for 1kg bones and 1-1.5 litres of water. However big stock pots can take a lot more! So use the real estate if you have it available.
NOTE: This is not a recipe for a pressure cooker. There are pressure cooker recipes out there, but for me I prefer the consistency and flavour of a slow cooked broth. Despite the sometimes brilliant results pressure cooking can provide there is a difference to the final result and for me nothing beats low and slow.
Bone Broth Recipe
Ingredients* indicates optional ingredients
1kg organic bones (each meat has a different flavour, but all will work, please try to obtain organic bones or at the very least free range and if beef or lamb - grass-fed is also preferable)
2 medium carrots (quartered, skin on)
2 medium onions (red or white, halved, skin on)
* 2 stalks of celery (quartered)
1-1.5 Litres filtered water (spring water is even better)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
2 springs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp himalayan/sea salt
1 tsp organic black peppercorns
If you plan to roast your bones preheat the oven at 200/180 (fan). Distribute the bones evenly across one or two roasting tins.
Roast the bones for no more than 30 minutes. You want the outside of the bones to be browned but you don't want the bones to beef fully roasted throughout as you want the marrow to be kept in tact prior to cooking in water.
Place the chopped vegetables in the slow cooker/large saucepan.
Scatter the herbs, seasoning and apple cider vinegar and place the raw or roasted bones into the pan. Try to ensure the bones are not sticking out higher then the lip of the pan so a lid can fit on comfortably.
Top up the pan with water. Try to ensure the contents are just covered with water. So I estimate around 1-1.5 litres should do it.
Turn up the heat until the broth is boiling. Let it boil for around 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. On a slow cooker this is easy, but on a hob I'd select the smallest burner/hob ring and turn the heat way down so it's barely simmering. You can often see but try to make a not of where the water line hits so you can see how much it's reducing by.
Put the lid on and leave it. Check after 3 hours initially to see how much the liquid is reducing. If it's reduced by more than 1/8 it's still too hot. You will get a handle on this once you've done it a couple of times. But on the flip side make sure the pot is still hot. The broth should be too hot to drink from the pan immediately. If you have a thermometer you want it at about 80-85 degrees for the long haul.
Every few hours and before straining use a slotted spoon to skim any scum from the top.
For Fish broth, 6-8 hours should suffice, Chicken 12-24 hours, Beef 24-48 hours. If you can achieve the maximum cooking time the I'd recommend you do so you get the very most out of them. Some people also like to reuse their bones. I only ever cook them once, but you might find you can get some more yield out of them, but have a play around.
Once ready, find a large, clean vessel to strain the broth into. Use a fine mesh strainer pour the broth into the vessel and allow to cool for around an hour.
There will be a layer of fat on the top, and depending on the meat and type of bone, the fat content will vary. You can either allow the fat to settle to the top, and separate it with a spoon into another vessel (it will be visibly clearer than the rest of the broth underneath). Whatever you do don't throw the fat away! It's a brilliant fat to use for cooking. If you want to chill the broth with the fat all together. It actually seals the broth nicely making it last that bit longer.
Make sure the vessel is suitable for fridge/freezer storage. The broth will last up to 6 months in the freezer or 7 days in the fridge. To extend the life of the broth you can always bring it to a quick boil and chill again if you want to add another couple of days on.
I'd recommend drinking the broth with the fat removed, or even better just use it in cooking. We have plenty of recipe suggestions on the blog here.
Tip: If you want to keep the broth in small portions for adding to cooking a top tip is to pour it into ice cube trays and place in the freezer to pop into any stews, sauces, casseroles or gravies as you wish. Delish!