There are a lot of different approaches to making bone broth. The most common is either cooking the broth on the stove on in a slow cooker for 8 to 24 hours. Heck, a friend of mine cooks his bone broth in the slow cooker for two days. The idea behind the length of cooking bone broth is to get all of the goodness (minerals, gelatin, marrow, vitamins) out of the bones and vegetables and into the liquid. While both of these methods are simple, time tested, and effective, they are painfully slow. There is however a faster and more efficient way, and that is to use a pressure cooker.
As a homesteader, gardener, and canner, my wife and I have a variety of pressure canners, however most of them are quite large, 12-quarts or larger. However, a few years ago we bought a 6-quart Instant-pot electric pressure canner. This is our go to bone broth making machine as it allows us to make awesome, nutritious, and delicious bone broth in about 2 hours. So, in just two hours, (after the pressure cooker gets up to pressure) the pressure will leech out all the collagen, marrow, minerals, and vitamins locked into the bones and veggies that would typically take a stockpot or slow cooker 24 hours. So for us, using the Instant-pot is optimum choice.
Typically, whenever we roast a chicken, or buy a rotisserie chicken from our local supermarket, I save the bones and put them in the freezer, once I get about two or three pounds of bones, I put them in my Instant-pot pressure cooker and make bone broth. The best bone broth however comes from when we butcher an old laying hen which is no longer productive. Typically and older hen is a “tough old bird” hence the saying, and they are relegated to the crock pot or slow cooker in order to make them edible. In addition, an older chicken tends to have more fat (at least ours do) which is something we are looking for in a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) / Ketogenic (Keto) bone broth. Having said that, if all you have are bones, and or a couple of whole chickens you got on sale at your local supermarket that will work as well. Anyway, let's get on with making some awesome bone broth.
I will say upfront, the best bone broth comes from cooking one or two whole birds and reserving the cooking liquid and then after you have deboned the carcasses for other meals, add the bones back to the cooking liquid and add the remaining ingredients. Making bone broth this way gives the final product a depth of flavor that cannot be beat. However, many people make excellent tasting bone broth with just leftover bones.
2 to 3 pounds beef, chicken, pork, or rabbit bones
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, with the Mother
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
mirepoix, optional (see below)
Place bones in your electric pressure cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water until the pot is ¾ full (my instant-pot holds 4 liters, so I fill it with liquid to the 3 liter line).
Chef's Note: Typically, you should allow the bones to sit in the water with the vinegar for 30 minutes. The idea is that this allows the vinegar to begin to soften the bones and helps to leech out the minerals into the broth. This increases your cook time, and to be honest, I do not think that it matters when you are using a pressure cooker, so I generally skip the additional wait time.
If you are using an Instant-pot electric pressure cooker, Select the 'Soup' button and change the pressure setting to 'low'. Then set the cook time for 2 hours (120 minutes). When the timer is goes off, unplug your Instant-pot and allow it to depressurize naturally.
All that is left to do is to strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the bones and or any vegetables or herbs that you may have added to the pressure cooker. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. We like to store some of our bone broth in individual one cup portions and the remaining in glass Mason canning jars. (Yield: 2 quarts)
Chef's Note: Most of my bone broth comes from chicken or rabbit bones (we raise both for meat). If you have a good supply of beef, lamb, or pork bones, then roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes really kicks up the flavor profile. To see how to roast bones for bone broth see below.
Roasting The Bones
Beef, pork, and lamb bones when roasted in the oven adds a depth of flavor that you just do not get from simply boiling the bones. The great thing is that it only takes about half an hour to take your bone broth to the next level. To roast the bones, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees then place the bones in a roasting pan in a single layer, and lightly coat them with olive or canola oil and place them in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off check the bones, they should be a deep rich brown color. If they are not, then roast for another 5 – 10 minutes.
Once the bones have been roasted to perfection, toss them in your stockpot of pressure cooker. Now another key to developing great flavor is to take a small amount of hot water and add it to the roasting pan after you have removed the bones. Then take a wooden or plastic spoon and carefully scrap all the bits from the pan (aka fond) and add them to your stockpot or pressure cooker.
Mirepoix (The Vegetables)
I will be honest, I keep my bone broth pretty virgin, just bones, water, salt, pepper and a basic mirepoix. However, if you want to throw in some additional odd vegetables or herbs please feel free to do so. In classic French cuisine, the way I was trained, when making beef, chicken or fish stock you would use a mirepoix (combination of onions, carrots, and celery). Which you would either roast with your bones or not, depending on the type of stock you were making. The amounts of vegetables used varies depending on the amount of stock or broth you are making, but the ratio stays the same, 2 part onions, to 1 part celery, and 1 part carrot. So for this recipe, my mirepoix contains a variety of leftover vegetables (ends and pieces) of onions, bell pepper, carrots, and celery that I keep in a plastic one gallon zip lock bag in my freezer. These are the trimmings from when I do any prep for our family meals (waste not want not). If you do not have any trimmings, then for this recipe I would suggest 1 cup diced onion, and ½ cup each diced carrots, and celery (a total of 2 cups of vegetables)
Of course, you can leave the veggies out and just make the bone broth without them and you will still have a delicious and nutritious broth. Having said that multiple studies show that the majority of the minerals found in bone broths come from the vegetable matter, not the bones that is in the broth. So while bones alone are good, bones and veggies are better.
Think of this base recipe as a blank canvas and you are the artist. You can add so many different vegetables, herbs and aromatics to this basic bone broth depending on your personal tastes. Some of my favorite additions in no specific order are: garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, kombu (dried seaweed), and Korean red pepper paste (gochujang). The skies the limit, so experiment and enjoy your creations.
What If Your Bone Broth Tastes Weak?
Well, the simple answer for a basic stock would be to cook it down until the water content is reduced to about one-third, or one-half. The quick solution however, is to enhance your bone broth by adding some powdered chicken or beef broth. I can hear you now, some of you are screaming 'NO!!!!!!', but yes, I will on occasion add a small amount of powdered bouillon to my bone broth if it needs it. I prefer the Knorr brand, but use whichever brand you prefer. If the idea of adding powdered bouillon offends you, then do not add it to your bone broth and simply simmer your broth until it reduces enough to concentrate the flavors to your liking.
There you have it. My fool proof recipe for a delicious and nutritious bone broth that you can make in less than three hours from start to finish. Not only is it great for those of you who are on a schedule of intermittent fasting, it is an excellent source of fat which helps you to increase your fat intake while you are on a LCHF / Keto diet. Bone broth contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), and collagen (which contains the proteins glycine and proline), which are found in all land animal bones. There is, still no specific scientific research that supports the many of the health claims made about bone broth. In fact, the current limited scientific evidence suggests that many of the health benefits that are attributed to bone broth are simply false. As I often do, I have included many of the references I examined while writing this article so that you can go and do the research the possible benefits of bone broth and come to your own conclusions.
The bottom line, I like bone broth and it is a good source of natural fat, and if like me you are on a LCHF / Keto diet, or do any intermittent fasting (IF) then bone broth is an excellent way to add fat to your diet without any unwanted carbohydrates. In addition, many proponents of IF advocate and or allow the limited use of bone broth during the fasting period. And last but not least, bone broth is an excellent base for making homemade LCHF soups. As always, we ask that if you have found this article interesting or helpful, that you share it with your friends and share it on other social media outlets. Don't forget the checkout our Facebook page at CulinaryYouLCHF, or add use to your circle of friends on Google+. You can also check out all of our articles on Pintrest.
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Christ, Scott, Is Bone Broth Good For You? Here's What Science Says, Pure Food, 2017. Accessed October 3,2017.
McCance, R.A., Sheldon W., Widdowson, E.W., Bone and Vegetable Broth, Kings College Hospital, 1934.Accessed September 28, 2017.
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Heid, Markham, Science Can't Explain Why Everyone is Drinking Bone Broth, Time Magazine, January 6, 2016. Accessed October 2, 2017.
What's The Scoop On Bone Soup?, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, September 2015. Accessed October 1, 2017.