It's basically stock that's been simmered in a way to draw more minerals and protein out of it's components than the usual pre-soup simmer. The how is pretty simple: addition of acid, and long simmer time. Of course you can buy it (my personal fave), but it gets pricey. To benefit from bone broth, it's supposed to be a frequent, if not daily, treat. Good bone broth is richly flavored but not strong. Good for daily fortifying, and great when you're not feeling well. Also worth noting: it's not the same as bouillon, which is typically high in salt/sodium.
So, how to have enough bone broth without stealing dollars from your movie budget (hey, priorities!)? Enter: the conversation with your favorite butcher. I found out today that our local fave sells chicken backs for a whopping 50 cents a pound. Squee!
|Chicken backs from the butcher - who knew?!|
Setting up to make two batches, because it's a little labor intensive and freezes well. One beef using oxtails, one chicken using chicken backs (I've read you can include chicken feet for extra collagen; maaaaaaaybe I'll get there, maaaaaaaybe not).
|One tray each, light S&P sprinkle only.|
First, roast them lightly. I did 25 mins/turn/20mins at 350deg w/convection. Not very scientific, but I'm pushing browning over tenderness. This is going to simmer a very, very, very, very long time, and all I want is the broth anyway.
Then into the crockpot with some seasoning buddies, water, and trick #1: acid. Include a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar in the simmer to draw out minerals. Be sure to use the good stuff and not apple cider "flavored" vinegar.
|Seasoning buddies, plus vinegar.|
Leading to trick #2: simmer for what seems like an obscenely long time: crockpot low for 36 hours. Some recipes also say 18hrs is long enough, some say go the full monty 48hrs. I say it's flexible. You can do this on the stovetop, but I have a gas stove so I'm not keen on leaving a gas burner running unattended for that long. You probably could speed this up using an InstantPot (which I don't own, yet....). If someone tries/has tried that, please let me know!
Go time: 1:30pm. Now, we wait.
Next morning, still waiting....
|Chicken broth after simmer.|
Next: strain the broth, and chill overnight for the fat to settle out and congeal.
Lift the fat out - a spatula works nicely.
I think this would keep in the fridge maybe up to a week (I'm not an expert - use your own judgement). For longer storage, I'm freezing it in glass canning jars. Fill them about 2/3 full to allow for expansion. I figure 1 pint jar is good for a couple days' worth.
It's not as gelatinous as I expected. I don't know why. I've read including chicken feet really boosts the gelatin content. I think I needed more bones in general.
Still,tasty, soothing, and surprisingly satisfying on these cold Wisconsin winter days.