I have held off writing this post because I’ve been pretty sure that when I make broth, I just throw bones in water and boil ‘em. Doesn’t exactly seem recipe worthy. But then I post pictures of what is basically beef or chicken jello, and get comments suggesting that a lot of people don’t have the same results.
That’s not okay. Everyone should get perfectly gelled broth every time they make it. Broth is a right, not a privilege! Maybe I’m being dramatic.
Please note that this isn’t a recipe with measurements and exact instructions. It’s broth. It just can’t be that specific, if you ask me. But if you follow the general set of guidelines, you should achieve broth perfection with the freedom to make it your own.
I use a pressure cooker. I highly recommend purchasing one. Links to options are below. If you aren’t interested in using a pressure cooker, the following recipe can still be used. You’ll just be simmering your broth for 6-24 hours instead or 1-2. Not a problem if you’re more patient than I am. If you’re using a crockpot, you probably know how to use it better than I do, because I’ve never owned one. It’s okay, don’t worry. I don’t want one, but I’m glad other people love theirs. From what I’ve seen and heard, 24 hours is ideal for crock pot broth. I’m guessing that crock pots don’t get hot enough to reduce it, so it may be best to transfer the broth to a pot on the stove at the end. I used to make mine overnight in a cast iron dutch oven in a low oven. I set off the carbon monoxide detector once that way, so now I use a pressure cooker.
I make my stock in 2 phases: the bone phase and the veggie phase. This makes the process a bit longer, but it’s worth it. I do this for two reasons:
1. I don’t like cooking the veggies for as long as the bones. They might make the broth bitter if cooked for so long. I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but I’m going with it. Plus, I tend to be a bit obsessive when it comes to things cooking as long as they should. If bones take 24 hours to fall apart when cooked slowly, and vegetables only an hour, it just doesn’t make sense to me to cook them for equal time.
2. Less is more. When you reduce, that is. I leave the lid off during phase 2, and allow the broth to reduce, which makes it perfectly concentrated.
Here’s what I do:
Into my pressure cooker go several pounds bones; beef, lamb, or chicken. I fill the pot about half way with bones and cover with water by a few inches. I wish I had a solid bone to water ratio for you, but I don’t. If you cover with water by an inch or two, the water that fills in the space between the bones in the pot should be a good amount. As far as what kind of bones: knuckle bones are good, as are chicken backs and necks. Wings are also a good option. You can save your bones from when you make chicken and use those as well. Get the best quality you can- grass fed beef and pastured chicken if you can. You want healthy bones for your broth!See that line inside the pressure cooker that says MAX? Respect that. I bring my water line a bit below, just to be safe.Into the pot goes 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.And 1 teaspoon sea saltTurn the burner to high and lock on the lid. My pressure cooker has 2 options: One and Two. I turn it to Two, which is the higher pressure option. (remember: I’m impatient) Once the pressure builds up and the valve pops up, I turn the burner to as low as it will go with the pressure maintained. I often have to play with it a bit- The pressure will drop too much, and I turn the heat back up, until I have found the pressure cooker’s happy place. (I also still scream, like a girl, when the pressure gets too high and the safety valve releases. It scares the hell out of me, and screaming just seems to be part of pressure cooking. For me.)
Once the pressure is up, I cook my broth for about 75 minutes. I then turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release enough to open the lid.
Time for phase 2. Add your veggies. These don’t have to be beautiful, in fact, they shouldn’t be. Save your scraps and freeze them- they’re perfect for broth making. I like lots of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and celery root. I also add an onion, cut in quarters, (you don’t have to peel it), some garlic cloves, and a teaspoon or so of peppercorns. Remember, this isn’t an exact recipe. You can add anything that you’d like the flavor of in your broth. I do, however, recommend keeping it somewhat simple.
Strain the broth over another large pot with a strainer in it. Squish the contents of the strainer with a wooden spoon or ladle so you get as much juice out of it as possible. You can save the carrots or any other veggies you want to add back in for soup.
Transfer the broth to glass jars or containers and chill in the fridge. The fat will be easy to remove once the broth is cold.
If you want to be a showoff, Turn your broth out onto a cutting board and cut it with a knife. Why? Just because you can.
So there you have it! Beautiful broth. I hope it results in broth perfection for you.
Pressure Cooker Shopping:
Here is a link to Pressure Cookers on Amazon, of which there are many.
Here is the link to the one that is closest to the one I have, except I have the 10 quart.
There are many options. Since I haven’t tested a handful of models, I recommend reading customer reviews to get a better idea of performance and features. I would definitely go with stainless steel as opposed to aluminum. Get a stove top model if you don’t want to lose counter space.