This is the bone broth recipe that I used to drink daily for about year to heal the walls of my intestines. It’s been years and I still prepare it regulary, especially in winter time to make delicious and healthy soups and ramen.
What is it good for?
Bone broth is a potent source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, collagen and glutamine. These help to build and regenerate (heal) our body’s muscle tissue and joints. In addition, it contains many minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
After months of consuming bone broth on a daily basis, the truth is that not only did my health improve with a drastic drop in my inflammation levels, but also my mood, my physical condition and my skin. I remember many people back then asking me if I had had something done, a facelift they probably thought Hahaha!. It really does improve the appearance of the skin, hair and nails. Surely it must also have a myriad of benefits for all the organs of the body. I mean there is a reason why they give you chicken soup when you are sick. I recommend it to everyone who is going through the healing process of a serious or chronic illness.
Things you should know before you start cooking
Making this kind of broth takes time as you have to let it cook at a low temperature for many hours and then strain it and put it while hot in canning jars to cool. So plan your time ahead to dedicate two mornings or two afternoons and do it all with a lot of calm and dedication. You won’t regret it, once you do it for the first time, the following ones will be very easy.
To prepare the broth, first of all, you need to get some good quality beef bones, preferably knee, knuckle or leg bones as they contain the most collagen, otherwise any other casserole bone will do well. The other important and delicate issue is the purity of the bones, especially in this case when you intend to consume for a prolonged period of time for health reasons. Bones, although very healthy, can contain contaminants such as heavy metals or toxins if the animal has been exposed to pesticides for example.
I recommend looking for certified sources of bones from pastured cows that are free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticide-contaminated grasses. There are more and more suppliers available, at least in my country I was able to find two or three, the prices are obviously higher than those in butcher shops, but it is a completely justifiable extra expense.
You can also use another type of bone if you want to make variations, you can use chicken bones or even chicken feet which have a lot of collagen. I would sometimes buy or bake a roasted chicken and then leave the bones to make a broth. Or you can use lamb bones or even pork or pork’s feet if you have access to these, the only difference is that the flavor might be a bit more intense.
A brief anecdote
The other special item you will need is a 4 or 5 litre pressure cooker or slow cooker. If you don’t have one, you can still use a regular pressure cooker, but you will have to take some precautions. This is because to extract the most nutrients from the bones, you will have to boil them at a low temperature (~80°C) for quite a few hours, 6 to 24 hours or more depending on the cooking method.
When I prepared my first batch of bone broth, I was living in a small apartment, I had recently bought a slow cooker and was happy to put it to good use. So, one afternoon when I came home from work, with all the ingredients at hand, I set about preparing the broth and then left it to cook for 24 hours. I closed the kitchen door, left the extractor fan running and also left the door to the kitchen utility balcony opened to prevent the apartment from getting too smelly. When I got up the next morning, I smelt the aroma of cooking, went to check the slow cooker I had left in the kitchen and everything was in order, so I closed the kitchen door again and went to work.
When I got back from work around 7 pm it was 24 hours into the cooking time of my bone broth. When I opened the apartment door, the smell of the broth hit me hard, I opened all the windows to ventilate, but I still think that everything, curtains, clothes included, were smelling to bone broth. The broth itself was still boiling slowly, but the aromas it gave off during the last hours of cooking managed to penetrate every corner of the apartment. It took me probably a week to get the smell out of all the clothes and fabrics, sofa, curtains, etc.
I tell you this story so that you can take the necessary precautions. If you live in an apartment, leave the extractor fan running full blast and close the door and seal all the spaces where the smell can get out. What I did the following times was to leave the slow cooker on the kitchen utility balcony (which is opened and aired) with the door closed, with this I managed to prevent the smell from permeating into the apartment, but I surely earned the anger of several neighbors. The smell itself is not bad, it is a delicious smell of broth, but it is a bit strong, and you don’t want it on your clothes or fabrics.
At one point the slow cooker bored me because it only allowed me to make about 2.5 L of broth, so I decided to buy a portable induction cooktop in which I could put a 6 L pot. They have to be pots with a steel base or alloys that allow them to work on induction cooktops as for example aluminum does not work. I had one of those old aluminum pressure cookers that my grandmother used and unfortunately it didn’t work with the induction cooker, luckily I had other stainless steel pots that worked perfectly.
These are the main considerations that I think you should take into account before starting to prepare your “Bouillon”. Then in the recipe below you will see that I use various vegetables and herbs to give it a good flavor. These can be at your discretion, you can add more or less depending on your taste.
In the recipe you will also see that it has a splash (two tablespoons approx.) of apple cider vinegar or any other vinegar you may have, I read this somewhere because the theory is that adding an acidic component helps to demineralise the bones, i.e. extract a greater amount of minerals, which is something we want. The taste of the broth is not affected much and as long as you don’t overdo it, the acidity is hardly noticeable.
There is also an optional extra step, that I highly recommend because the flavour is much better, it is to roast the bones a little bit in the oven before putting them in the pot. With this step, the broth is darker in colour and the flavour is much more concentrated. It’s perfect for ramen, but if you prefer a lighter, paler broth, you can skip this step.
Let’s go now to the recipe
- 1 Baking dish. For baking 1 Kg (~2.2 Lbs) of bones
- 2 Oven gloves
- 1 Pressure cooker or a slow cooker. With a capacity of 4 Lts. (~135 oz) aprox.
- 1 Stainless steel fine-mesh strainer. Or chinese strainer
- 1 Skimmer
- 3 1 Lt. (~34 oz) glass canning jar with lid
- 1 Metal funnel. Or a spouted glass jug to pour the liquid into the jars. It can also be a pot and use a ladle to pour.
- 1 Kg Beef bones (knee, knuckle or feet). Or chicken, pork, lamb, etc.
- 1 pc Large onion cut into 8 pieces with skin.
- 1 pc Large carrot, coarsely chopped.
- 1 pc Large celery stalk, coarsely chopped.
- 2 pc Garlic cloves. (Optional, you can add more if you like)
- 1 leaf Bay leaf
- 1 sprig Rosemary, or ⅓ tbsp of dried herb
- 1 sprig Thyme, or ⅓ tbsp of dried herb.
- 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 3 Lt Purified water. (~100 oz) or more.
- Turn on the oven to 180°C and wait for it to warm up.
- Wash and sterilise canning jars, skimmer and strainer
- Place the bones and optionally the chopped onions in an ovenproof baking dish
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bones brown. Be careful not to burn them, otherwise the broth will be bitter.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven, and transfer the bones and onions to the pressure cooker or slow cooker.
- Add all the other vegetables and herbs, the vinegar and the 3 lts (~100 oz) of water, or more if the pot allows
- Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. If it is a pressure cooker, cook for 4 to 6 hrs on low heat. If it is a slow cooker, cook for 18 to 24 hours on low heat.
- Once the cooking time is over, use the skimmer to remove the bones and the rest of the solid ingredients from the pot. These can be discarded.
- Place the strainer over the spouted glass jug. You can also use a pot.
- Carefully strain the broth, you can do it a little at a time. If you use a pot, use a ladle to tranfer the hot broth.
- Then pour the hot broth into the glass jars, put the lid on and close them tightly. Invert the jars to seal them and ensure there is no leakage.
- Let them cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then use tap water to cool them quickly and then put them in the fridge.
- Once cooled, the fat will solidify on the surface and serve as an additional seal.
- Once the bone broth has cooled, you will notice that the fat solidifies on the surface. This is good as it serves as an additional seal.
- When you want to consume the broth, open the jar, spoon out the block of fat, throw it away or store it in the refrigerator for later use in your meals.
- The broth will be gelatinized (like jelly). The density of the gelatin will depend on the quantity and quality of the bones and the hours of cooking. The more gelled, the more collagen content, so it is a good sign.
- To consume, you must heat the portion, one cup is like the recommended daily portion. You can add salt and pepper to taste and drink it directly.
- You can also boil the broth with a little more water, add salt and pepper, add some chopped vegetables, rice or noodles and prepare a delicious soup.
- I personally used to drink a cup in the mornings on an empty stomach, and only added a little bit of salt.
- The broth lasts perfectly two weeks in the refrigerator at < 4°C .