Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bone Broth, 3 Days in the Making

You know me, I like simple recipes. I prefer things that can be made with minimal prep in less than an hour, 20-30 minutes is preferable. But the whole bouillon thing left me bats. And I didn't want to use some crummy store bought product anymore. So I really had to do this.

I bought some beef soup bones from my CSA last week, and I could not wait for them to arrive. I got two packages of bones, maybe 4-5 pounds in total. It wasn't until after I totally cooked them that I realized that they were back bones, vertebrae. They had lots of meat and marrow to them. My babysitter was sick all week so I was home working and taking care of the kids, but I was around to have a big pot on the stove. It was also rainy all week, so we weren't at the playground as much as we would have normally been.

So I took the bones at about 6pm on Day 1 and placed them in my big stock pot with a leftover heart of a head of celery, a half an onion, the tops from some leeks, a half a bunch of parsley, some peppercorns and about a half a cup of vinegar. I brought it to a boil and then lowered the heat and let it simmer. It simmered until I went to bed at 11:30pm. (okay it was a late night, I don't usually go to bed that late) For some strange reason I didn't get any scum off my bones so I never skimmed it. I was really surprised about that! This is what it looked like after about 5 hours of cooking.Then I parked it, bones and fat and all, in the fridge in a slightly smaller pot. I thought about putting it in the crock pot overnight so I could wake up to completely simmered stock. But I started getting concerned that it would dry up and I would sleep right through it and it w. I am not so down with fire hazards.The next morning (Day 2) I was up around 6:30am and I took the whole pot out of the fridge and put it on to boil. It looked like broth (Duh). The Nourishing Traditions recipe says to boil beef bones for no less than 12 hours, which I thought sounded like excessive, I am always looking for shortcuts. But even after simmering for more than 5 hours the night before, the broth was still just broth, loose like water, not gelatinous like I knew I was looking for. So I put it on the stove and simmered it until 2:30pm, or about 8 more hours. I was over it at that point and took it off. I strained it first with a colander, and secondly with a finer strainer. I had about 2 quarts of stock at that point. So I poured it into my 3 quart saucepan and put it back in the fridge over night.

The next morning (Day 3) I checked it and it had a thick layer of tallow on top. I removed the tallow and saved it (What should I do with it??). And the broth underneath was completely gelled! It was as gel-y as jello, you could cut it with a knife and spread it on bread. But why would you do that?

I took the saucepan and placed it back on the heat and boiled it until it was just a thick beefy syrup.

I ended up with only about 1.5-2 cups of the thick syrup. It turned into about 11 ice cubes in my ice cube tray. I put the tray into the fridge and when It was cool I placed it in the freezer. When it was frozen I tried to remove the cubes from the tray and they were totally stuck. The syrup is so concentrated that it was springy even when frozen. I had to run the bottom of the tray under hot water and then use a fork to pry the cubes out. Now I plan on taking one cube out at a time when I need to make whatever it is that I add bouillon. I figure if I am making soup I can just throw the cubes into the pot. But if I am making gravy and I need to add a liquid to hot fat and flour rather, than an ice cube, I can just defrost it in the microwave in a coffee cup. I think this bit of work will pay off in the form of quick and super flavorful meals during the week. I can't wait to use some!

I admit. This was kind of a bitch to make. I am not going to lie to you, and clearly it took me three whole days. But there was no salt in my final product and yet it tasted amazingly flavorful. Whereas that other stuff is all salt AND MSG. I am proud of myself that I actually did it. And the prep work was minimal. There was no chopping, just boiling and straning. The actual WORK related to this stock was minimal. What stunk was having to be home while the fire on the stove was on.

You know you wanna try this. Even if you don't have three days. If I were to do this again I would do it in stages when I was home. I wouldn't hesitate to boil it for a few hours and then refrigerate for a few and then boil it for a few, etc. You can do this on your schedule.

1 comment:

  1. I make chicken and turkey stock in the crockpot and have never had it run dry as long as the lid stays on. I usually start in the evening and run it until late the next morning (about 12 hours or so).