Mad's Homemade Bone Broth
I only discovered the benefits and comforts of bone broth a couple years ago. Late to the game as usual but it didn’t take me very long to fall in love with this golden potion. I’m 99.9% sure you’ve heard of bone broth before since people have been raving about it for years. Now you can almost always find a sip-able jar seasoned and ready in the cold beverage aisle of most grocery stores in California.
If you don’t know why people are going gah gah over what seems to have existed for years aka chicken stock or chicken broth, let me explain the difference!
Chicken (or beef) broth will usually be more clear in color and is made of chicken scraps, sometimes vegetables and spices and simmered for about 45 minutes.
A stock, which is a little thicker than a broth, is made of bones, ligaments, and connective tissues and simmered for 3-4 hours. Simmered bones for a long period of time releases nutrients like collagen and gelatin.
Bone broth is different because even though it’s made from similar ingredients that you would put into a stock and sometimes a combination of both, the simmer time varies largely. Bone broth is made from bones, ligaments, connective tissues (sometimes vegetables, spices, and meat scraps), and is simmered for 12-24 hours (some people say up to 48 hours).
Bones are the storehouses of essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, collagen and gelatin (two nutrients that support skin, joint and gut health. Simmering the bones for at least 12 hours also helps release amino acids like proline, glycine, and glutamine - Even MORE joint and gut health! This is where you want to make sure you’re getting HIGH QUALITY bones meaning organic, pasture raised, grass fed and finished.
When I started drinking bone broth I would grab a jar here and there from my local Whole Foods or natural foods market but those can cost anywhere from $6.00 to $18.00 and it adds up. Especially, if you want to add it to your sipping routine. At first, it was like a warm treat but I wanted to reap more of the benefits so I learned how to make my own.
Out of trial and error, I noticed that roasting the bones makes a huge difference in flavor and blanching them helps remove the impurities (I learned that one from my mom!). However, I noticed that in a lot of recipes I was finding on the internet were skipping one or sometimes both steps. These steps are VITAL in creating a beautiful, nutritious, and SAFE TO SIP bone broth. I say safe to sip because if you’re not getting organic bones you’re going to want to rid them of dirt, impurities, and dare I say - bacteria. Get rid of that nitty gritty with the blanching process! You’re going to be simmering or slow cooking these bones for almost an entire day so whats another 30 minutes?
My method is blanch, roast, simmer and if you’re making it on a stove top remember it’s SIMMER NOT BOIL.
The art of blanching is simple. Simply rinse your bones, carcass, what have you, and place in a large pot. Add water until bones are completely submerged - I usually do about an inch or two above the bones. You’ll bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to about low/medium heat. You’re looking for a low and slow simmer and you’ll start to see a type of “scum” gather at the top of the water. That’s all the bad stuff you DON’T want to be drinking.
The easiest way to get rid of the scum without tossing out liquid is by using a fat skimmer spoon. I use this one and it makes my life way easier. You’ll continue to scrap the top until it’s mostly clear (about 10-15 minutes) and then drain and rinse in cold water. Note: You’ll only blanch if you’re using raw uncooked bones, backs, chicken feet etc. The only time you’ll skip the blanching process is if you’re using things like the carcass of a rotisserie chicken. It’s already been cooked so you can skip this step and go straight to the roasting.
If you plan on simmering veggies and herbs like fresh rosemary or thyme in your broth, you can roast those too. Place everything on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil. I skip the salt. You won’t want to overcrowd your pan so if you have to do it in batches.
I usually stick with the classics when it comes to veggies: onion, carrot, celery, and sometimes leeks or if I want some spice I’ll throw a jalapeño in there. Some people say no veggies ever, some warn against the sweetness of carrots, you do you. It may take a couple different batches to figure out your perfect ratio to your tastes. I personally only use 1/2-1 carrot because I like a savory broth more than a sweet.
There are two ways to make bone broth: on the stove or in a slow cooker. If you’re using a slow cooker, empty all your roasted bones and veggies to the pot and cover with water. The amount of water depends on the amount of bones. I personally would rather have a more concentrated broth that I can water down vs. a broth thats too watery so I usually go for right above the bones. This is when you’ll add your dry spices, acv and things like bay leaves. You can also wait till the very end to add your dry spices to taste. You’ll cook this on low for 12-24 hours. Set and forget!
The other option is the stove top. If you do it this way, I just recommend that you know your stove - they’re all different. Bring the bones and other good stuff to a rolling then reduce to a low SIMMER. There’s a reason why I keep emphasizing simmer I promise. Yes, heat helps to extract collagen from connective tissue, but prolonged exposure to high heat can also break down the structure of that protein so much that the broth fails to gel, and often gets cloudy too. It’s still okay to eat and there’s no use in throwing it out because it will taste delicious - you just wont get that good good.
So, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, watch and add water when necessary.
If I’m making broth for cooking rather than sipping I’ll season it less with just salt and pepper. I love putting Red Boat fish sauce in my sipping broth because it adds another layer of umami flavor but would omit if I’m just making a batch to freeze for another recipe.
Before wrapping this up let’s go over straining. First, I’d like to remind you that your bone broth is going to be HOT so wait a bit till it slightly cools. The objective is to have a clear (as far as bones and bits) broth that is sipable without choking on something or without the grainy texture of spices. Cheese cloth is your best friend! I use a large bowl that can fit a large strainer in it and dump or spoon or both everything in the colander. That will be your first strain. Compost the bones and do a double strain with the cheese cloth. The cheese cloth is what will remove the spice remnants and any other tiny little thing that slipped through the first strain. I store these straight into mason jars and silicon ice cubes and throw it straight into the freezer!
I hope you enjoy this warming and nutrient dense gut healer! Below you will find the recipe and if you end up making this - let me know in the comments!