My homemade bone broth recipe is a fundamental factor in my weight loss diet. I use it to supplement my meals and cut calories.
My bone broth recipe and process
My diet practice is changing as I go through this process. But one thing that I am sticking with is using bone broth.
Bone broth has been a great addition to my diet routine. It has helped meals that were less than fantastic taste better. And I think that it has a psychological benefit. It reminds me of comforting, richly flavored soup. It is a great base for cooking.
Making my own broth is also psychologically beneficial. It makes me feel more in charge of my food choices and more dedicated to my program. Buying, cleaning, prepping, roasting, and cooking bones for my own bone broth recipe is an investment in time and energy.
Basically, my bone broth is beef or chicken
Bone broth can be made from just about any bones. Fish, pork, beef, and chicken, or any combination thereof are extolled for their benefits. I choose to stick with beef and chicken broth because both are easy and made from common ingredients. Additionally, they are easy to clean up and don’t produce strong odors while cooking (the way a fish stock or fumet would, for example).
Between beef and chicken bone broths, I prefer chicken. I make my broth from chicken backs, carcass, and chicken feet. Feet and bones are rich in gelatin which gives the bone broth its great mouth-feel.
I’ve experimented with beef bones, knee caps, and cut tendons. To me, it never gets the level of flavor I am looking for. It always tastes a bit too much like tallow and it can be hard to finish a bowl. I have been working more with soup bones, which provide more flavor. But I sacrifice the thick gelatin that comes from those dissolved connective tissues.
I may end up with a bone broth recipe in the future that combines chicken and beef. That will give me the best of both broths.
Preparing to make bone broth
I get the bones and other ingredients from my local international market. They sell wings, backs, and feet as well as a variety of beef bone cuts. I also buy onions, carrots, celery, whole garlic, and some strong, woody herbs to help with flavor. If I need it, I’ll grab a small can of tomato paste, and a pack of smoked, frozen turkey necks, too.
It’s about a 4-hour process to make the broth, so I try to make a full two weeks’ worth at a time. Depending upon my schedule I may even break the process up over two days.
At home, I will soak or blanch the bones to clean them up. I rough chop the vegetables and spread them, along with the bones, onto a foil-covered baking sheet. As the last step, I will smear the bones and vegetables with tomato paste.
Roasting bones for better flavor
Whichever bone broth recipe I am using, beef or chicken, I begin by roasting the bones and vegetables in my oven for about 45 minutes at 450°F. This gives the skin and flesh on the bones a nice brown color and kick-starts the breakdown of the collagen. It also releases the flavors from the vegetables.
I often prep and roast twice as much as I’m going to need. When the bones come out of the oven I set half of the pan aside. One half I proceed to cook and the other half I let cool and then transfer to a two-gallon ziplock freezer back once it has cooled. This bag goes into the freezer. This shortcuts the process on the next batch of broth by nearly half.
Applying the pressure
Most people cook their bone broth on the stove in a large pot, simmering for several hours. Some recipes require 12 – 24 hours to allow the heat to break down the bones and release the minerals and dissolve the collagen in the joints.
I don’t have the means to leave a pot unattended for hours on the stove. And the few times I’ve tried this method, no one was a fan of the odor permeating the house. So I experimented with using pressure cookers to do the job just as effectively in a fraction of the time.
I have a 6-quart pressure cooker used specifically for making bone broth. First I fill the inner pot about 3/4 full with bones and one smoked turkey neck. I will add two cups of unfiltered apple cider vinegar to help break down the joints and bones. Next, I pour in enough water to cover the bones completely. Then I throw in the fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, or any other savory, woody herb. Now is the time I include added spices like whole peppercorns, coriander, fennel, or pepper flakes. I’ll even throw in a single, whole, cayenne pepper to give the stock a bit of a bite. Finally, I add 2-3 tablespoons of a mineral-rich salt like Himeleyian. I don’t want to overdo it with salt. More can be added later to finish a dish.
Making sure the lid is on properly, I set the pressure cooker to “canning” for 2 hours. It can take up to an hour for the cooker to build pressure (because of the large amount of water inside). Once it has cooked at pressure for 2 hours the unit goes into warming mode. I let it release its pressure naturally.
This is as close to automatic as I can get. The pressure cooker will keep the contents near boiling for hours after cooking. This means that I can set it up before going to work or bed.
Cooling and storing my homemade bone broth
Once all the pressure has dissipated I open the top and pour the contents into a large strainer, catching all the bones. Some people re-use their bones a couple of times, but I just chuck them out. I strain the liquid through an even finer mesh coffee strainer to catch any tiny bits of meat, bone or gunk.
After the broth is drained I transfer it into quart-sized glass jars to cool. I like using the glass jars because they don’t melt or leech chemicals like plastic containers and they clean very easily. This usually gives me 5 – 5 1/4 quarts. I divide the liquid between the jars and top them off with filtered water. Then they go into the fridge, uncovered, to cool down. After a couple of hours, I put lids on.
I can start using the broth right away if I want, but I generally let is set for a couple of days. This allows the gelatin to push all the residual fat to the top of the jar. It forms something like a seal and is usually about 1/2 inch thick. I have found that I can keep broth for months in the fridge as long as the fat cap is undisturbed. Once I open the jar and dig it out, the broth underneath lasts about a week.
If I need my bone broth recipe to last even longer, I freeze it
Freezing it will keep it for several months. I generally use it quickly enough that freezing isn’t necessary or practical. But I have occasionally filled ice trays with bone broth and let them freeze, then transferred them to zip lock bags. It is nice to have some rich, flavored stock on hand in small quantities for making a sauce.
Finally, how I use my homemade bone broth
When I want to use my broth I just take a jar out of the fridge, remove the fat cap, and scoop out as much of the jello-like broth as I need. I heat it on the stove or in the microwave until it goes back to being a liquid.
I’ve got several ways that I use bone broth, as an additional ingredient or a stand-alone meal.
- Pour broth over my kimchi and shredded chicken
- Add a spoonful to sauteed vegetables
- Use as the basis for a gravy or sauce
- Flavor poaching liquids for chicken or vegetables
- Add to water and bones to make more bone broth
- Just heat a cup and sip it at the end of the day
This is also an acceptable beverage to use on water fast days. It is extremely low in calories but the flavor and density help assuage feelings of hunger.