Bone Broth

Since moving to Seattle, bone broth has become a staple in our house.  Once a month I cook up a batch + spend the weekend tending to my broth and adding different veggies as it cooks.  The result: a mouth watering über nourishing super concentrated broth [stock] that can be frozen in ice cube trays or mason jars and taken out as needed.  

I first learned about bone broths when I was gifted Nourishing Traditions, a classic by Sally Fallon.  I poured through it, reading her anecdotes and recipes and pouring over the information on the Weston Price Foundation website.  Many of her recipes require the adherence of a slow lifestyle, or just very good planning.  While this is one of those, it can easily be adapted so that you don't have to tend it all weekend.  The length of time for the cooking actually depends more on the type of bones you use, right.  It doesn't take as long to extract the mineral goodness from chicken bones as it does from cow bones, and this is what makes these stocks so nutritious.  Here, I can easily find bones at the farmers market or in some of the Coops, but if you're more rural, talk with a farmer you know who treats the animals well and perhaps they can provide you with some bones during their next slaughter.

Sally Fallon says in Nourishing Traditions, "properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate.  Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth."  I like to prepare my broths with both vinegar and red wine.  I find that this combination both aids in the breakdown of the bone and cartilage as well as providing exceptional flavor.  Dr. Francis Pottenger also points out that a crucial benefit of bone broth is the amount of gelatin that's extracted through the cooking as well.  "Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid in digestion.....and although it is by no means a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine, it acts as a protein sparer , allowing the body to more fully utilize the proteins that are taken in."  You can test for gelatin content by allowing your stock to sit in the fridge overnight.  If it is solid when you pull it out the next morning, congrats!!  You've got gelatin!!  This super concentrated stock can be slightly watered down when cooking soups, or used as is.  When we have an abundance of bone broth, I like to drink it in the mornings with breakfast.   MMMMMMMMM.

Everybody that's made bone broth has their preferred recipe, but this is mine.  I'm not a measurable cook -- I like smelling and tasting and then making additions based on my senses.  SO!  If you feel you need a more concrete recipe, you can find an abundance of recipes on google!  


  • 1 pound of beef bones
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • spices (cloves, ginger, peppercorns, chili peppers....)
  • veggies (honestly, I usually use whatever we have that's in the fridge, but if I had my druthers, I'd use carrots, celery, parsnip, squash seeds, mung beans, kale stems, burdock root)
  • sea veggies (kombu, kelp, dulse)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • red wine
  • herbs (rosemary, winter savory, parsley, thyme, lavender...whatever you like and have!)
  • salt
  • sometimes I add bacon.  don't judge me, it's delicious.

So, now you're ready!  

  1. Heat oven to 250-300 degrees.  Place the bones in a glass dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake for an hour or two.  
  2. Pour bones and oil-fat combo into your BIG stock pot.  Fill with water, leaving maybe 4 inches at the top of the pot.  Cut the onion in half and poke the cloves into the halves.  Toss in the pot.  Add the bay leaves and other spices and about a 1/4 cup or so of the cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.  Ahhhhhhh.  It's starting to smell pretty good, huh!?  Allow it to slowly bubble on a low setting for the rest of the day stirring about every once and a while.  Turn off before bed.
    1. Note:  you can leave the lid on or leave it off.  This will totally depend on whether you want to reduce your broth or keep it soupy.
  3. Good morning!  Time to turn your bone broth back on!  Bring it back up to a slow bubble (and maybe have some for breakfast) and add your veggies, sea veggies and wine.  If you're using bacon, toss some of that in too.  Basically, what you do now is wait & stir it when you think about it.  About a half hour or so before you're going to turn off the pot, add your aromatic herbs and put the lid on.  
  4. When it's cooled sufficiently, strain the broth from the chunks and jar it up!  Freeze what you're not going to eat right away and enjoy eating and sharing this amazing food!

You can modify this recipe so many ways.  Have fun experimenting and finding ways to fit this recipe into your lifestyle and meals!  I look forward to hearing about your adventures!