Paleo-Primal Beef Bone BrothSaturday, December 17, 2011
I know that some of my libertarian-Austrian Economics colleagues worry about my blog becoming a paleo/primal/foodie blog (and it won’t), however, some things foodie are just too good to pass up for the KDC blog.
I love to make bone broth during the winter months. Bone broth is one of the most natural, satisfying, and nutrient-dense foods in my arsenal. I have been making it every weekend in the slow cooker since Thanksgiving. Though it takes 24-30 hours, it is very simple and low-maintenance, as I will explain. However, due to the time passage from the initial investment of labor to the production of an edible good, folks with high time preferences might not want to bother with this recipe. In my case, since I use grass-fed bones, my labor started back in May when I worked with my farmer to order the appropriate quarter of cow, have it delivered to slaughter, decide upon the various cuts and wrapping for each cut, and then I made a 150-mile round trip to pick up the meat.
First off, don’t let the dogmatic “paleos” tell you that only grass-fed bones will suffice – that is poppycock. It is my preference, and since I buy cows directly from my farmer(s), I always have a six-to-nine month stash on hand, including all sorts of beef cuts, at any point in time. Meaty soup bones, marrow-filled bones, short ribs, or beef shanks that are store bought will still make a healthy and fabulous bone broth.
There are so many ways to make bone broth, so I do it differently each time. I am a make-it-up-as-I-go-along type of cook, so I don’t have definitive recipes for anything. But here is my general blueprint.
I use a 6-quart slow cooker and I toss in the meatiest bones, and I cover the bones in the crock pot with filtered or spring (never tap!) water. I add a few splashes of raw coconut vinegar (available from Whole Foods), though you can use apple cider vinegar. Then I add salt (Himalayan or Celtic) and fresh-ground pepper, and I let things cook with the crock pot on “high” for a couple of hours.
Then I revisit the crock pot to add more bones (the ones that have far less meat), more water, several bay leaves, minced garlic, thyme, a tablespoon of bacon grease, and a couple of tablespoons of raw butter. Then I switch the crock pot to low and go do stuff (for a few hours, or whatever).
When I come back to the kitchen (the time is not important) I cut up onions, carrots, and fennel, and add it all to the crock pot. The carrots are in here; they sunk to the bottom. I also add the throwaway core of (whole) fennel bulb to the crock pot to help flavor the broth. Some people also add celery and other vegetables for flavor.
I have a crock pot with a timer with a 12-hour maximum, so I reset it every so often and cook my broth on low for 24-30 hours. The house smells glorious for a 2-3 day time period. After that time I use a fine strainer to strain the broth into a stock pot for storage in the refrigerator, where it is good for a week. I keep the strained veggies and meat for other purposes and separate the broth entirely in the stock pot. I use the tender, delicious meat pieces in omelettes, in veggie dishes, or I add it back to some of my servings of the broth. I will make side dishes from the tender veggies. My dogs get the bigger bone remains (after I dip them in the broth). My dogs really like me.
Eating pure bone broth is a joy, and I also use it to detoxify when necessary, especially as I find myself attending multiple Christmas Parties and eating food that is not a part of my daily routine. I detoxify by eating bone broth for an entire day, or more, and I feel marvelous afterwards. Often I eat the broth on its own, but sometimes I add veggies, some of the leftover meat slivers, etc. Also, when reheating the broth, I heat the whole stock pot and take my servings from the pot. After heating the broth, I pour servings into small serving bowls that I can take to work, etc. I don’t like to dish out a serving while the broth is cold because of the fat, or tallow, that forms a solid at the top, which will give me an uneven distribution of that fat. Lastly, if I want to save some of the broth for a later time, I will freeze it in freezer containers or in ice cube trays and warm the “broth cubes” in a pan on the stove when desired.
If you want to get creative and separate your top layer of fat, or tallow, from the broth after it sets in the refrigerator, you can – the tallow will make a good cooking resource on its own.
It really is that simple. Get creative with your broth and splash in some new flavors each time you make it or reheat it.