By: Andrew Sterman
Beef Bone Broth Recipe
- Buy 3-5 pounds stock grass-fed beef bones. Always seek organic or pasture-raised meat products.
- Roast the bones on a baking sheet in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop 1 leek, a few medium carrots and a few stalks of celery, toss them in the bottom of a stock pot with a tiny splash of olive oil and couple pinches of salt.
- Get them going, not too hot.
- When the bones have browned a bit (they will also give off some fat that you don’t need to use), toss them into the stock pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.
- Stock must not be allowed to reach a rolling boil. A full boil will turn stock bitter and ruin its clarity, so prized in high cuisine. Stock should have a slow-rising bubble every few seconds, no more. Use the stovetop’s lowest setting.
- Add a good splash of cider vinegar or wine vinegar (1/4 cup) and a half dozen dried mushrooms (optional, but a great option).
- Cook on steady, low heat for 1-2 days without stop. I generally cook mine for two and a half days.
When it’s done, pour the stock through a strainer into another pot to collect the bones and bits. From the collection pot, ladle or pour into refrigerator containers. Cool in the refrigerator overnight. Fat will separate to the top for removal and the stock will show its character by congealing through its natural gelatins.
Scoop some into a saucepan to melt before drinking. Some like it straight, some opened up with some warm water. Salt to taste if desired (salt is a mineral of the sea and joins the work of the stock unless a person has a specific renal hypertension that is sensitive to salt intake). While you have it on hand, by all means explore cooking with stock in soups and sauces. For a good home cook, the addition of a great stock is what you need to match fine restaurant cooking.
If this is all it takes to be an urban caveman, I’m in.
Further Notes For Clinician/Cooks
Don’t Forget Fish Bone Broth
A good fishmonger will save the skeletons and heads after filleting fresh fish and give them to you without charge or for a minimal fee of perhaps two dollars a pound. Where I shop in New York City, the guys are pleased when you carefully select beautiful fish for dinner but they get excited if you ask for bones for stock. Ask for white fish skeletons at first; avoid the high oil fishes, such as salmon, until comfortable enough with fish stock to know how to use the stronger taste these fish will provide. Include the heads and fins if you can.
- As with beef bone stock, begin by roasting the bones on a baking tray in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes. This isn’t necessary but does contribute a beautiful taste to the finished stock.
- While the bones are roasting, coarsely chop a few carrots and a couple celery stalks and toss them into the stock pot with a small splash of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Improvise with other root vegetables such as leek, daikon, burdock or parsnip, but avoid those that will overwhelm the color of the stock, such as beets.
- Also toss in a half dozen dried mushrooms and a single piece of dried kombu.
- Add an inch of water to soften the vegetables, mushrooms and kombu.
- Add the fish skeleton (a couple if small, perhaps a half a skeleton if a large fish such as cod or grouper, a whole large skeleton if cooking for broth clients), then cover with cool water.
- Bring up to nearly boiling but quickly reduce heat to sustain a simmer. As with decocting herbs, the intensity of the flame becomes a major contributor to the influence the dish will exert. Classical herbalist language contains the message also for food therapists and home cooks: wake foods quickly with a soldier’s flame, then reduce for long cooking with a scholar’s flame.
- Add 1/4 cup white wine vinegar to extract calcium from the bones (the calcium of the bones will neutralize the acid in the vinegar, the extracted calcium will stay in the broth which will not taste vinegary).
- Cook the fish stock at a low simmer with a scholar’s flame for 6-8 hours. Strain in a colander over another pot or large bowl, allowing ample time for all the essential goodness to drip from the solids. Cooking overnight or up to 36 hours is fine.