Bone Broth

Bone broth is deeply nutritious. The collagen gets pulled out of the bones and is the best medicine for our bones (way better than Calcium tablets!!). The broth will thicken up when it cools. The thicker the better. It’s like liquid essence.

You can use either beef marrow bones or shanks, and/or chicken bones. Also lamb bone, turkey bone, whatever you roasted up, you can use the bones. You can collect them in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch.

Here is a recipe for bone broth from un-roasted (not from roasted chicken or beef roast) bones. This is the long and most delicious version. If you are using bones left over from a roast you can skip the blanching and roasting steps. I have several variations and tips at the end that may be useful for you to customize the broth for your dietary needs (gluten free, grain free or nightshade free), so read those out before diving in.

  • 4-6 lb of marrow bones, soup bones, beef shank bones and a joint bone*
  • Olive oil
  • 1 T flour – wheat, buckwheat, sorghum or anything that you have**
  • 1-2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with knife
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 1 T white vinegar or apple cider vinegar ***

OR 1 -14 ounce can tomato puree

and/or ½ cup red wine

  • Sea salt to taste
  • Herb options (use all, some, none or others):
    • bunch parsley sprigs or stems
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 1 t coriander seed
    • 2-3 cloves or allspice
    • Star anise
    • Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal
  • Preheat the oven to 425 and bring several quarts of water to boil in your largest stock pot.
  • Blanche the bones in boiling water for 10 minutes to remove any bitter parts. Discard the water, straining the bones.
  • Pat the bones dry and rub with olive oil and sea salt. Then rub 1 T of tomato paste and 1 T flour into the bones and place them in a large roasting pan. Roast the bones on 425 for 30-40 minutes, or on 350 for an hour.
  • Halfway through the roasting, roughly chop and lightly oil the onions, garlic, ginger and other vegetables (not the herbs) and add to the roasting pan. Check regularly, we want to caramelize but not burn them. This step is optional, but if possible, at least do the onions and garlic.
  • Once the bones and vegetables are golden and not too burnt, remove from oven. Put roasted bones in a large stock pot – put the veggies in the fridge for now. Deglaze the roasting pan with the red wine or water (heating on stove top if possible) and add to the stock pot for extra flavor. Add vinegar or tomato puree. Add enough filtered or good quality water to cover plus an inch or two.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, bringing to a very low simmer. Reduce the heat to lowest setting and gently simmer partially covered (or uncovered) for at least 12 hours or ideally 24 hours to extract all the marrow and gelatin from the bones. Keep the lid cracked and do not boil to prevent sourness.
  • Use slotted spoon to remove scum occasionally in the first few hours, to prevent bitterness.
  • In the last 1-2 hours, add the vegetables, bay leaf, ginger, coriander, cloves and peppercorns (whichever you are using) and continue to simmer gently
  • In the last half hour add the fresh parsley and thyme, or other fresh or light herbs.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for a while on a cooling rack or in a sink full of ice water (or out in the snow) without a lid. Remove bones from pot with tongs and strain the rest with fine mesh strainer and or cheesecloth, discarding the solids. Allow stock to cool further, then refrigerate. Once it cools, remove congealed fat but cutting into a tic tac toe shape and lifting it out of the gelatinous stock.
  • You can use this broth to drink daily as is or to make all sorts of soups! You can pour cool broth into plastic or glass containers, leaving a little room for expansion. If you are using glass, you will want to refrigerate before freezing to reduce the chance of the glass cracking. Personally, I cool the broth to nearly room temp and use quart-sized yogurt containers and a sharpie to label and date.

Here is a 12 minute video that I found helpful for learning bone stock or broth making tips:


Variations and tips:

*You can order these from your local farmer or grocery store. Not every supplier will offer the same array of bones, though, so be prepared to shop around. Call in advance and ask for a knee joint or similar. You can also use chicken bones, though I based this recipe on beef and lamb bone broth.

** If you are avoiding gluten or grains, use a gluten-free flour such as buckwheat or sorghum, or a grain-free flour such as tapioca – alternatively, skip this step.

***Acid helps pull the nutrients such as calcium out of the bones – you can use vinegar, tomatoes and/or red wine to do this.

An alternative to using all fresh vegetables is to use 1-2 quarts of “veggie compost,” i.e. veggie scraps that you saved over the past couple weeks. I do not recommend using cruciferous (aka brassica) vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, or kale in your broth as the smell and flavor that they impart in the broth is not pleasant. Read more about veggie compost broth

Do not boil the broth. Boiling will turn the broth cloudy and bitter. Keeping the lid cracked wide, or off completely will help.

If you are avoiding nightshades, do not use tomato puree.

If you only have dried herbs, you can put them in a tea ball and drop them in the pot for the last hour, removing when you turn the heat off.

You can make beef bone stock without the vegetables if you want – make a soup starting with mirepoix, which will give it the great vegetable flavor, and add the stock as the liquid. For more about soup making, see my Soup Basics blog.

If there is meat on the bones that you are going to want to pull off the bones, you may find it easier to strain the bones before adding the vegetables and herbs. I sometimes cook the vegetables and herbs in the broth for an hour after removing the bones.


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