If you missed PART 1 – there you’ll find information on all the HEALTH BENEFITS of homemade stock/bone broth.
Also, if you just want to add more beneficial gelatin to your stock (or if you want to use it to make homemade jello!), you can also get this gelatin from pastured animals. I also use it when my 3rd run or so of stock isn’t as gelatinous as the first. Or to add extra nutrients to any soup, sauce or stew.
Today, in PART 2, before we talk about HOW to make a good, healthy stock, first I want to tell you about our favorite restaurant: Reds on the River. (Hang with me, you’ll see where the connection is…and by the way, if you’re bored, don’t miss the bottom of this post where I share all sorts of somewhat-related nonsense.)
Reds is a bit pricey, so we don’t go often, but as is usually the case, you get what you pay for. I absolutely LOVE how they make everything from scratch (no nasty “soup base” in their dishes), and a good share of their produce comes from a local organic farm! Last fall I went to a class at “Red’s Cooking School” on making stock, and Chef Glenn gave me his OK to share what I learned with you.
He’s a chef after all, so understandably, his primary concern is taste. But what I found interesting is that the methods he uses for the best flavor in his recipes, are often the same methods traditional cooks used for best nutrition. (Whether they knew it or not – usually food was prepared in certain ways just because that was how they were taught.)
Delicious AND Nutritious
So first I’ll tell you what I learned from Chef Glenn about making delicious stocks, then I’ll tell you more about how to make your stocks extra nutritious too.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM CHEF GLENN ABOUT MAKING DELICIOUS STOCKS: (my comments are in italics)
- For beef bones (all bones?), first put them on a cookie sheet in the oven on 400* until they brown up some (don’t let them burn) – and then throw them into the pot to make your stock – this adds extra wonderful flavors. (I often skip this step, but it does give the broth better flavor.) See the note below about which bones to use.
- A “white” broth is made without roasting the bones first, and a “brown” or “dirty” broth is made by roasting the bones.
- Veal bones make the best broth. (I personally didn’t notice a difference with my veal bones vs. regular beef bones, but he makes the reduction sauce for my favorite dish there, London Broil, with half red wine and half veal stock. It is positively dreamy.)
- The celery, onions and carrots you add to your stock are called a Mirepoix. Best proportions are 2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrots. These should be a part of ALL stocks. (I don’t measure at all, as a matter of fact, I just throw veggie scraps in – leftover from cutting up carrots or celery or onion for soups.)
- Use about 1/3 of a pot of bones, 1/3 of a pot of the above veggies, and then fill up the pot with cold water.
- Cold water helps extract the flavors as it heats up slow.
- Vegetable stocks take 1-2 hours, fish stocks 45 minutes (any longer and it gets cloudy), and veal & chicken stock cooks overnight. (Note: Sally Fallon says, “2 hours simmering is enough to extract flavors and gelatin from fish broth. Larger animals take longer – all day for broth made from chicken, turkey or duck and overnight for beef broth.”)
- Making a flavorful soup (or any recipe) is all about layering the flavors. A way to do this is by first roasting in the oven, or sauteing on the stove in butter, any of the vegetables you will be using in your soup.
- Butter carries flavors across your tongue. (No wonder I love it so much! See the link below about how butter is not the bad guy many have been led to believe it is.)
NOW, HOW TO MAKE YOUR STOCK AS NUTRITIOUS AS IT IS DELICIOUS:
- Never use aluminum stock pots – aluminum has been strongly linked to health problems. (More about that in a future post. For now you can Google it if you’re curious.) I use Stainless Steel.
- Don’t be afraid of using sea salt in your cooking. Even some with high blood pressure are able to use sea salt with no problems. And good quality sea salt is full of beneficial minerals.
- TRY to use good quality meat and bones to make your stock. When animals are raised and fed well (pastured, not in confinement!), it’s a no-brainer that their meat and bones will have more nutrients. Chef Glenn may disagree with the grass-fed part, because I think they even advertise that their beef is grain-fed. I believe this is known as being very flavorful. But good flavor can be found in grass-fed as well, and it’s MUCH better nutritionally.
- Don’t be afraid of butter! This one doesn’t relate to broth so much, but when Chef Glenn said in the class that he uses a lot of butter in his cooking (which is one reason why he’s a great chef!), he said it a bit apologetically. Butter isn’t the bad guy it has been made out to be. Don’t let what “they” have told you about butter and other healthy fats stop you – always use healthy fats in your kitchen! In big restaurant kitchens, cost may prevent them from using only healthy fats, but in your own kitchen it is a MUST for good health. (Read the bolded links for more info.)
- The best, most beneficial stocks (nutritionally) are those that, after cooling overnight in the fridge, have the consistency of jello – so don’t freak out if you see this – it’s a good thing! If you’re making stock for health reasons, you may want it to be more concentrated (more boiled down) to reap more health benefits from the gelatin. Read more about this in Part 1.
- Don’t boil the stock, just keep it on a low simmer.
- You should always add a splash of raw vinegar (I use Raw Apple Cider Vinegar) to your stock when you begin boiling, as this will draw more minerals out of the bones. NOTE: I just found out that once you get the water and vinegar in with the bones, you’ll draw many more minerals from the bones if you let it set like that for an hour before heating it up. Grrrr, I’ve been making stock for years and didn’t know this!
- Filtered water is best. (Where to buy water filters.)
- Which bones to use? This is what Sally Fallon has in her “Broth is Beautiful” recipe: “About 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones, 1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional), 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones”. There may be something special about those bones, but I just ask for *any* bones (or use whatever bone is in the cut of meat I’m making for dinner).
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR STOCK:
So you’ve got your quality bones, your Mirepoix, your splash of vinegar and water in your pot. When you’re done boiling (see times above), strain it well. Chef Glenn uses a very fine strainer for a clear broth, but if you don’t have a fine strainer, your broth just won’t be as clear – not a big deal in my kitchen, but for some it’s important. After it cools, freeze in baggies or in ice cube trays – never put hot foods near plastic! (After the cubes freeze, toss them into baggies for smaller amounts to use when sauteing veggies, or in anything you want a little extra flavor and nutrition – I can’t remember who gave me that tip, but thank you!) Now use your stock for soups, stews, when cooking rice, with noodles, or anytime you’re making a white sauce. (Sometimes if I don’t have enough stock for my recipe, I’ll also add some organic stock to it from the store.)
WHAT DID I MISS? Do you have more tips to share about making stock, or other ways you like to use it? Comment below!
- More about how to make stock and details on making chicken noodle soup
- I recently updated my French Onion Soup post with info from Chef Glenn – he gave some good tips on making it as tasty as they do at Reds. (I love how he’s so open about how they do things there!)
- A useful Kitchen Tip from Jeanne for making vegetable stock
- OH, here’s more good scoop I missed from Cheeseslave, who also just did a post on chicken stock – good timing!
- Our “thank you” dinner at Reds
- Reds is in this neat building in downtown Rockford, the Promenade, designed by my friend, Robert, and it’s right on the river in a beautiful setting.
- Right down the boardwalk from Reds is my favorite coffee shop, Frenz, owned by my friend, Rich. Read his guest interview.
- I found this article from Chef Glenn on making stocks.