This weekend I made another batch of broth, something I do every 2-3 weeks. I was out of leftover chicken/turkey carcasses and only had a ham bone from a relic of a spiral sliced ham we had around Christmas. So, I was faced with buying some bones. My local market regularly has these. Imagine my surprise to find that they are no longer cheap or free! After paying $1.90/lb for 4 lbs of bones (most of which appeared to be upper femurs and pelvises from young cows) I trundled home along with the rest of my groceries.
To get the best flavor, you need to roast the bones. I splashed mine with some olive oil and salt and stuck them in the oven at 350 for about an hour. (Add some tomato paste for further depth!) They did smell delicious and rendered off a nice bit of fat (that I gave to the chickens).
Then, they and my old ham bone went into the stock pot with the usual suspects: onion, garlic (fresh and some leftover roasted garlic), fennel root, celery, and carrots. I have a huge 8 quart pot, and I added just enough COLD water to cover everything, probably about 6 quarts of water (24 cups). (Note: also 1 T vinegar to help extract all the minerals from the bones.) Initially, I brought it all up to a rolling boil to free up any scum, which I then skimmed off. Then, I reduced it to a simmer for 8 hours. (You should feel free to do much longer, but remember to NEVER boil during this stage.) After this, I added fennel seeds, star anise, allspice berries, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaves, a quarter of a lemon, and pepper corns. I cooked it for another hour with the spices. Then it was ready to be strained and filtered. After straining I gave it another hour to reduce, tasted it and added some salt. It was a pretty brown, but I wanted it darker and sweeter, so I added a tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet (shhh. . . don’t tell anyone!) and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Owing to the all the marrow, the broth was/is really rich.
It yielded 20 cups of shimmery and gelatinous, mahogany broth. But I forgot to take a picture!
But, have no fear; I have pictures of many other broth adventures. You know, some people take pictures of sunsets or cats, but I take pictures of broth . . . well, at least some of the time.
p.s. I gave the leftover meat/cartilage bits, carrots, celery and garlic to the dogs. No wonder they hang around the kitchen! (Sorry, no cooked bones or onions for dogs!)