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.
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.