(Edited for photos Feb. 2, 2014. You’ll note I made the broth a little differently this time — I used 1 pound of oxtails, 1 pound of beef bones and leftover red onion and white onion I had in the fridge. I also simmered it for a total of 18 hours. By the time I was done, there wasn’t much left of the bones.)
Bone broth is like the Zen koan of food. Clear, but full of flavor; goes down like water, but is incredibly nourishing; takes a long time, but is incredibly easy.
I use this in every recipe that calls for stock, now that I have found the recipe in the Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook. I was looking for an easy weekend cooking project, and after an awful experience with store-bought broth that ruined an entire gumbo, I knew I needed to begin making my own stock.
Basically, you throw a bunch of bones, vegetables, alliums and ginger into a slow cooker with fish sauce and vinegar and simmer for ten hours. You strain everything else out, and you’re left with a beautifully simmering stock that practically vibrates with nutrition — good fats, gelatin, everything. And, since you make it yourself, you can be completely free of any fears regarding the dreaded “PLOP” at the end of your pour.
I’ve edited this version of the recipe to make it easier to make with basic pantry ingredients. I only used beef bones, as they are the easiest to find in my grocery store, but you can use whatever bones you have. Just make sure to use the fish sauce — it gives the broth a wonderful, savory flavor that is almost impossible to identify.
- 2 1/2 pounds beef bones (including a few meaty ones, like oxtails)
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 medium carrot, peeled, and cut into 3 pieces
- 8 cups water
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick coins
- Place bones, water and vegetables in the bowl of a slow cooker, making sure everything is fully submerged. Pour in fish sauce and apple cider vinegar, and add garlic and ginger.
- Cover and set to cook on low for ten hours. (This can be simmered for much longer, but…yeah. I didn’t have that kind of time.)
- Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve to filter out the bones, veggies and odd gray scum. Season with salt to taste.
- This can be used immediately or stored in the fridge for a few days, in the freezer for six months. Don’t worry if it gels when chilled; that’s just the gelatin in it! It will liquify again when heated.