Beef Bone Broth (based on Jessica Prentice)

IMG_4841Makes 4 quarts

The rules on making beef bone broth are very flexible. The most important thing is to use good-quality bones and knuckle bones from grass-fed cows. Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth keeps it simple and minimalistic in her book Full Moon Feast. Here is a more complex version. Keeping it on the stove or the crock-pot for a long time is key to ensure that all the gelatin is produced from the collagen-rich joints and the minerals are released from the bones. Once we have the broth, it can be used for all kinds of soups, risottos and a slew of other delicious dishes. In fact, simply cooking a handful of small-sized stelline pasta and serving it with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese makes for a perfectly nourishing bowl of soup that I loved as a child.

A few large beef soup bones or knuckle bones
1/2 tablespoon of tallow or other fat
Short ribs, a couple of shanks or other meaty bones
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Put the bones in a large stockpot.
Using a heavy or cast-iron skillet, heat the fat and when hot, add pieces of shanks, ribs or meaty bones and brown on all sides.
Remove from heat and add meats to the stockpot.
Add a cup of filtered water into the skillet and scrape up all the flavorful bits from the pan. Pour water into the stockpot.
Add the vinegar and cover with enough water to submerge the bones by at least 2 inches.
Bring broth to a simmer, reduce heat to low and let it cook for at least 36 hours and up to 72. The heat should be below a simmer. Add water, if necessary.
After the desired cooking time – broth is dark brown and looks super-delicious – strain the broth and pour into 1-quart jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of fat on the top. It helps prevent the broth from spoiling by keeping out air).
The meat can be picked off the bones and used for other dishes, or added to the soup.
Leave at least two inches of headspace in the jars if you want to freeze them.