Beef Bone Broth
3 to 4 pounds of beef bones (can also use bones of any other variety depending on what you have and the flavor you are looking for)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
2 medium yellow onions
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
Extra flavoring ingredients: fresh ginger, fresh or dried mushrooms, fish sauce, garlic, fresh or dried herbs
Roast the bones (optional): Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the bones with the olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, turning once, until the meat and bones are evenly browned. This step is optional, but nice for developing a deeper meat flavor.
Cut the vegetables: Chop the carrots, celery, and onions into large chunks. No need for fancy knife work here — big chunks are perfect. Smaller chunks also tend to disintegrate during cooking and make the broth cloudy.
Combine the bones and vegetables in a pot: Combine the bones and vegetables in a large stock pot or crock pot.
Cover with a few inches of water: Add enough water to cover the ingredients by a few inches.
Add the cider vinegar and bay leaf: The cider vinegar helps extract nutrients from the bones. The bay leaf adds flavor. Also, add any extra flavoring ingredients now.
Stock pot instructions: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over high heat on the stove top, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. (Alternatively, transfer to a 200°F oven.) Cover and keep the broth at a low simmer for at least 12 or up to 24 hours. Check the pot occasionally, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface and adding additional water as needed to keep the ingredients covered.
Slow cooker instructions: Place ingredient in the slow cooker and cook on low for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours. If your slow cooker has time settings, you may need to occasionally reset the slow cooker's cycle. Check the slow cooker occasionally, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface and adding additional water as needed to keep the ingredients covered.
Skim off any foam from the surface: For stock pot and slow cooker methods, check the pot occasionally and skim off any foam that collects on the top. These are proteins that can make your stock cloudy. Don't worry if you don't see much (or any) foam; some cuts of meat create more foam than others.
The broth is done when dark and flavorful: The broth is done when it's deep brown in color and deeply flavorful — go on, taste it! You should taste a good balance of savory meat flavors and sweet vegetable flavors. The bones will also start to crumble after very long cooking — a sure sign you've extracted all possible nutrients. (It's okay, though, if your bones don't crumble; you should stop cooking when the broth tastes good to you.)
Strain the broth: Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all the big pieces of bone and vegetable. If you'd like a cleaner, clearer broth, strain a second time through cheesecloth.
Save the meaty bits! You can save the big pieces of meat from making the stock and use them for other recipes, like casseroles, pasta sauces, or even stir-fries. Shred the meat into pieces and keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Chill the bone broth: Cool the broth to room temperature, and then refrigerate. Depending on the kind and quantity of bones used in your broth, the chilled broth may become solid and jelly-like once chilled. That's fine! The broth will melt and become liquid again once warmed.
Scrape off the fat: As the broth chills, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. Once solid, you can scrape it off and use it for cooking or discard it.
Store the broth: The broth will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating bone broth: Pour out as much broth as you'd like and reheat it gently on the stove top.