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Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock

 

Broth or stock is the base for most soups, many sauces, and used in place of water to improve grains such as rice. Many recipes give you the option of using store-bought broth or stock, but nothing compares to homemade. Making your own is very easy, a great way to get the most out of meat you buy that contains bones, and gives you control over the flavor, any possible unwanted ingredients, and the sodium level (if you care about that sort of thing).

 

This is the basic method, without any salt or seasonings.

 

Put the bones in a pot, raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter.
Add an acid – vinegar or lemon juice (a couple of table spoons to half a cup).
Cover the bones with cold water (you can go an inch or two above the bones depending on how they sit in the pot).
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, so the acid can do its work pulling minerals out of the bone.
Turn on the heat and simmer for several hours – beef bones take about twice as long as chicken. If you are doing this on the stove or in a slow cooker, chicken bones should simmer for at least four to six hours, and beef bones need six to 12. Or, you can use a pressure cooker and cut your time down significantly (see below).
Cool, strain, and put your broth fridge overnight. Save the bones if this is your first time (see below).
Lift the congealed fat layer off the top. Your broth should have the consistency of Jell-O.

 

Why You Should Save the Bones if This is Your First Attempt

 

If your broth or stock did not gel, you probably need to toss the bones back in and simmer some more. This can also happen if you use too much water for the amount of bones.

 

Using a Pressure Cooker

 

This is much faster in a pressure cooker. Once it has come up to pressure and you’ve reduced the temperature, chicken broth takes about 45 minutes and beef takes about 90 minutes. DO read the instructions for your pressure cooker thoroughly if you are not familiar with it.

 

Which Bones?
I use whatever bones I have from cooking chicken. For beef, I’ve used rib bones after making ribs, and I’ve bought beef bones at the store. If I buy them, I choose a mix of femur bones and bones with lots of cartilage. Check out some of the Benefits of Bone Broth.

 

Seasoning and Flavoring

 

I often add a good handful of coarse salt. Sometimes I don’t add any flavorings. If the bones are from cooked meat your both will likely take on some of the flavor of the dish. You can use raw bones. Roasting beef bones before making your broth gives it a deeper, richer flavor. Adding roasted onion and garlic does, too.

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Garlic and Onion Soup

Garlic and Onion Soup

This is so easy, and so, so good. The only drawback is that it takes a long time, but it’s not hands-on time, just lots of waiting. It is kind of like French onion soup. I eat it as a soup on its own. My husband uses it for French dip sandwiches. It starts with homemade beef bone broth. I have been making it in a pressure cooker lately.

Ingredients:

Beef bones (5 or 6)

Onions (about 4)
Garlic (2 bulbs)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Coarse sea salt

Roasting

The key to this recipe is roasting the bones, onion, and garlic first. I do this in the oven at 400, for 45 minute to 1 ½ hours. You can use a glass baking dish or oven-proof bowl. A bowl seems to work best for the bones. Put all the bones in a glass, oven-safe bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top (just to keep them from sticking). Slice the onions into thirds. I don’t bother peeling them. Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Put the onion and garlic in the baking dish. Roast the bones, onion and garlic. The onion and garlic will be done before the bones.

Making the Broth

Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Toss in one bulb of garlic and half of your onions. Save the rest of the onions and garlic, and the oil they roasted in, for later. Toss in the bones and the oil and fat from the bones. Add some lemon juice (maybe ¼ cup), sea salt (about a handful or so), and cold water. My pressure cooker has a line that shows you how much water you can add.

Let this sit and soak for 30 minutes before starting the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to temperature, then turn it down, or do it however your model works. Cook in pressure cooker for 90 minutes. Strain the liquid into another container, put the bones, onion and garlic back into the pressure cooker, add some more lemon juice, and cook it all again for another hour and a half. Strain the second batch and press all the juices you can out of the bones, onion, and garlic.

Discard the bones, onion and garlic (not the onion and garlic you saved for later).

If you don’t want all of the fat from the broth, put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise and congeal on top and you can just pull it off and toss it.

Finishing the Soup

If your broth is chilled, it will be a jiggly lump. That’s good; it means it came out right. Place about 6 cups of broth in a pot on the stove. Store the rest in the fridge or freeze it for other recipes or just to sip on. Peel the onions and toss them in the broth. Squeeze the garlic out of its shell, into the broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. It will reduce.

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