I rarely watch the food channels on television. I get agitated by loud electric guitar rifts used for background music while trying to listen to high-strung extroverts show off their culinary skills. I know I’m being mean and generalizing, but it’s how I feel about television in general (unless its something quaint and soothing like the Great British Baking Show – which is no more). Sigh. Hiccup-y sob.
Despite my misgivings of rock n roll celebrity chefs and their perfect hair and nails, I did stumble across a show running a little vignette about a tiny shop called Brodo that serves New Yorkers broth in a to-go cup. This is done through a window, right on the street. I cannot pay tribute to the show it appeared on, because I cannot remember which one it was. But the idea of beef bone broth got stuck in my head much the same as a song does. The only way I could cure this was by making it myself. I had to have homemade beef bone broth. I needed collagen. I needed a warm brothy hug.
I easily found beef bones in the frozen meat section of my favourite grocery store. A single package cost around $5.59. In the picture above, that is two packets of frozen beef bones. I know. Expensive! Right? Especially when a litre of Campbell’s Beef broth is available for under $2.00 at some places. But that’s not the point. The point is to make it myself.
As the picture shows, I roasted the beef bones, carrots, onions, leeks and celery. This step is suppose to create a richer broth. I won’t argue. It’s smelled rich and delicious when it came out of the oven, and I was tempted to poke a fork in that marrow and eat it. However, I have never poked a fork in a bone to eat marrow before and wasn’t about to start that day. Although I am a very content and happy meat eater, sometimes, just sometimes, there are things that are a bit too animal-y and I can’t eat it. Beef marrow is one. Eating Cornish game hen is another (too many bones – looks like a dead pigeon found under the bridge). My mind. My problem.
Once those bones and bits were well roasted, I moved them into my stock pot and covered with water, the peppercorns, bay leaves and some apple cider vinegar. I let it simmer on top of the stove for about three hours. When it was time to go to bed, I transferred the stock, bones and all, into my slow cooker, and let it continue to simmer overnight and well into the next afternoon. After 24 hours, I took it off the heat and allowed it cool. Once room temperature, I moved the entire crock pot out onto the patio to chill (this took place on December 24 and about -10C). Once the fat rose to the top, I took the pot back into the house, lifted off the beautiful beef fat, wrapped it, and put it away in the freezer for future potato roasting and the like.
The stock I strained through a large pasta sieve, then a fine mesh sieve. I could have gone the next step and ran it through cheesecloth, but whats a few bits between friends?
This made a lot of stock. I froze most of it in one cup containers, and the remaining half litre made one of the most delicious soups.
Here’s to healthy hair and nails, thanks to the collagen found in bone broths! Maybe one day, Edmonton will have it’s own broth-shop downtown serving up some delicious, hot and healthy broth-to-go to it’s chilly downtown citizens.