Remember when a can of Swanson’s beef broth was all we had? We’re way beyond that now.
A couple of years ago, the news was full of the alleged near-miraculous health benefits of “bone broth.” And suddenly those cans of basic broth got shoved aside to make room for the new (old, really) kid on the block.
I read article after article and recipe after recipe for “bone broth,” but I couldn’t really see the difference between it and the beef/veal stock Julia Child taught me how to make in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, except you cook stock about 5 hours and you cook bone broth up to twice that long. The longer cooking time extracts more collagen that converts to gelatin, which makes wrinkles and aches caused by aging to disappear. Not really.
But having long-simmered beef stock/bone broth on hand is the foundation of making delicious food quickly. It adds depth of flavor, protein, umami and, yes, collagen if you want it, to all kinds of dishes.
Basic Beef Stock Recipe
3-4 pounds of meaty beef bones (veal bones, if you want a more delicate veal stock)
3 carrots, washed and broken in pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in chunks
3 stalks celery with leaves, washed & broken in pieces
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into chunks
1 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
Place the bones on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with 1 tsp. sugar and brown them in a 450-degree oven, turning them several times, until they are really brown. Put the bones and scrapings from baking sheet (deglazed with water) in a stockpot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer—not a boil—and skim the scum for about 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and put in cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a simmer, not a boil, and skim as needed. Partially cover the pot, turn heat to low and simmer for 4-5 hours. If water gets too low, add more to the pot. Turn off the heat and let the stock come to room temperature. Strain the broth, discard the solids and put the stock in the refrigerator until the fat solidifies and rises to the top. Skim and discard the fat.
Note that the recipe does not call for salt. Stock is one ingredient; salt is another. You’ll add seasoning in the final soup, sauce, stew or whatever you’re preparing with the stock.
Step One: Befriend your butcher.
Step Two: Simmer bones and veggies in a stockpot.
Step Three: Use the flavorful broth as a base for some of your most mouthwatering wintertime dishes. It’s just that simple.
• Cook pasta, rice or other grains in stock instead of water.
• Use stock as the braising liquid when making stew or pot roast.
• Cook potatoes in stock instead of water before mashing.
“THE BEST KIND OF BEEF BONES FOR STOCK ARE THE KNUCKLES—BEEF KNUCKLE BONES—WHICH ARE REALLY LIKE THE JOINTS. THEY JUST HAVE A LOT OF MARROW IN THEM AND ARE BEST USED AFTER ROASTING TO REALLY DRAW OUT THEIR FLAVOR.”
—PHILIP GRUBISA, BELTEX MEATS
Investing in Stock
Broth and bones, locally sourced and savored.
Skip the Bouillon Cubes
Whole Foods, 544 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-924-9060.
Everyday Organic 365 Beef Broth.
Beltex Meats, 511 E. Harvey Milk Blvd. (900 South), 801-532-2641
Sells housemade bone broth.
Get ’Em Here
Snider Brothers Meats, 6245 S. Highland Dr. SLC, 801-272-6469
Offers all-natural beef femur bones (no hormones or antibiotics).
Harmons, City Creek, 135 E. 100 South, SLC, 801-428-0366
Organic beef marrow femurs and pork bones.
Whole Foods Market, Trolley Square, 544 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-924-9060
No antibiotics and no hormones and often from grass-fed beef.
Get more recipes, tips and the latest on dining in SLC in our Eat & Drink section.