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The doors were opened, the cool air blew through the house, and thoughts of freshly-made soup floated through my busy head. Fall-time finally arrived this weekend!
Last weekend, I visited the pumpkin patch wearing shorts and baked pumpkin doughnuts while sweating in the kitchen. Although they were delicious even with an extra sweat drop or two.
This weekend, I rummaged through my closet in search of early morning sweaters, baked warm crusty bread, and lined the table with bowls of steamy soup. Did I mention bundled up in a cozy sweater without one drip of sweat? With fresh thoughts of soup dancing through my head this weekend, I remembered the big bag of bones, from a local farm, sitting in my freezer.
It’s funny how things change. A few years ago I would have been horrified at the thought of animal bones in my freezer. Now, I eagerly anticipate pulling out pounds of cow and chicken bones to make nutrient-dense, flavor-packed broth. The best soups are made from delicious, nourishing homemade broths. The cans and boxes of broths lining the grocery store shelves simply can’t compare to the goodness of homemade broth made from the bones of pastured animals.
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Not only does the taste differ, think about the price. I paid $3 for the big bag of bones in my freezer. Yes, $3! In fact, the farmer was so happy someone actually wanted bones he probably would have just given them away. $3, a few minutes of prep in the kitchen, and a night of simmering in the “Kitchen Maid” (my beloved crock-pot), by morning I have cups and cups of nutrient-dense broth.
Still not convinced?
Let’s think about dear old granny for a minute…
In the days before ours, the days of great-grandma, an animal’s life was valued and every part of the animal was used. Meat was eaten, fat was rendered, and bones were saved and made into broth. When we think of returning to the food and health days of great-grandma, I believe our minds always shift to processed food. But, our philosophy must go deeper!
Would great-grandma recognize boneless skinless chicken breasts? Probably not! Where are the valuable bones to make broth to nourish the body?
Would great-grandma recognize the beef we stock in our freezers, ground beef? Probably, but she’d wonder: Where are the roasts, the odd pieces, the fat, the extra bones which made up a large part of the animal who gave its life.
So, in the spirit of cool weather, nourishing our bodies, and returning to the food days of great-grandma, we are going to make broth, with bones, from an animal.
You Simply Need:
- Beef Bones, from pastured cows who ate grass, not corn, maybe they even had names (Find a local farm)
- Various Veggies (such as: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, fresh parsley or other herbs)
- Salt and peppercorns
- Roasting pan (like this)
- Crock-pot (like this)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the bones on the roasting pan. Yes, you need to touch the bones. Great-grandma (and your husband) will be proud.
Roast the bones in the oven until they are brown, about 20 minutes. They will smell delicious, just like steak!
Crock-pot time! Place the bones in the crock-pot.
Next, wash the veggies. No need for chopping. I simply break them in half with my hands and leave the herbs whole. The onion will need to be halved. Add salt and a few peppercorns, for taste.
Place the veggies on top of the bones.
Fill the crock-pot with water and turn on low for ten hours. Thank your “Kitchen Maid” for working so hard, she deserves it.
After ten hours, strain the veggies and meat to separate from the liquid. Don’t discard the bones. You can wash new veggies and use the bones one more time in the crock-pot to make another batch of broth.
Your broth should be fragrant and rich golden-brown color.
Place the broth in the fridge for 24 hours. A white substance, a protective layering of fat, will rise to the top.
Remove the layer of fat. Underneath you will find delicious bone broth just waiting to be used! I store my broth in mason jars and freeze until needed. When using mason jars to freeze, allow the broth to fully cool before freezing and leave plenty of room at the top for expansion of the liquid.
Break out the dutch oven, bake the bread, and chop the veggies, we are having soup tonight.