Making stock isn’t the prettiest job.
There are bones and/or carcasses to deal with. And skimming scum (ugh, that word is especially not pretty…but that’s really what it’s called!) off the top of a simmering pot of liquid that is best described as looking like murky pond water. And the fun continues into the next day with skimming the fat off the top of the cold gelatinous stock.
It’s not pleasant, not in the slightest.But it is so worth it in the end for this liquid gold. The flavor of homemade stock is unparalleled by anything you can buy at the grocery store (at least in my experience!)…try it and see for yourself. Plus it’s so good for you. If you’re interested in reading about the benefits of bone broth, this article on Nourished Kitchen is fantastic.
And I’ll let you in on a little trick. See that gorgeous deep gold color? The onion peel is one of the biggest reasons for that deep shade. Add a few extra peels if you have them on hand.
A Note on Salt: 2 tablespoons of salt might sound like a lot, but this makes a lot of stock and an under-seasoned stock is really not good. (Wasn’t it Ina Garten who compared under-seasoned stock to dirty dishwater? That lady is brilliant.) This amount of salt yields a moderately salty stock, which I think is perfect for use in most recipes. To adjust the saltiness to suit your preference, once the stock is finished cooking, you can taste it and add more salt if the stock isn’t salty enough or add more water if the stock is too salty…either way, it’s an easy fix!
Yields about 6 quarts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large (about 3-4 lbs) raw lamb or beef bones (with or without meat)*
9 quarts cold water
4 large carrots, washed, unpeeled and halved
2 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
A couple extra onion peels, if available
1 heart of celery (including stalks and leafy tops), washed and halved
1 leek, chopped and rinsed to remove any grit
1 head garlic, unpeeled and halved cross-wise
½ bunch parsley (leaves and stems), rinsed
1 bunch thyme (about 15-20 sprigs), rinsed
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 ½ tablespoons whole peppercorns
8 juniper berries (or 2 sprigs rosemary, rinsed)
5 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
3 whole pods cardamom, cracked
*Mike and I buy our meat at a halal butcher; if possible, try to use organic grass-fed lamb or beef.
Add the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the bones and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the bones (along with any juices in the skillet) to a large stock pot along with the water; bring to a full boil over high heat, skimming off any foam or scum that rises to the top. Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer 1 hour with the lid on but slightly ajar, skimming off any scum from the top.
Add all remaining ingredients, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil again; turn heat down and simmer uncovered 4 hours. Cool and strain through a cheesecloth-lined colander placed over a large pot to catch the stock, squeezing the cheesecloth to extract as much stock as possible; discard the solids. If the bones had meat on them, pull the meat off and use it in whatever you want.
Pour the stock into freezer-safe storage containers, cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim the fat off the top; keep the stock in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer 6 months or longer.