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How To Make Bone Broth In Record Time Using A Pressure Cooker

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Photo of bone broth by Krista Simmons/LAist
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At this point, you may have heard of brodo or bone broth, either from the raving of a paleo-obsessed Crossfitter or noticing it pop up on menus around town. Admittedly, when I first heard rumblings of the "bothing" trend, I thought it sounded a little—nay, completely—ridiculous. "People paying ten bucks for a cup of stock? That's the stuff my mom made with leftover chicken scraps! Please tell me this is a joke."

Well, it's not a joke. And it's catching on. Though grandmas around the globe have been serving some form of bone broth to their ailing kids for ages, Marco Canora at Brodo in New York City and many other chefs are trying to turn this super concentrated stock into the new cold-pressed juice. Even in L.A., where the weather hardly ever gets below 70 degrees, it's being served at restaurants like Asian Box, Villains Tavern, and Belcampo Meats.

While I'm still not convinced this trend of sipping bone broth like a latte will ever truly catch on in Los Angeles like juice did—we don't have soup season chillier parts of the country do—there is a lot more to brodo than what I initially thought.

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It turns out there's a reason why this stuff is a bit more expensive than your average can of Swanson. Bone broth, at least as it's being sold now, is made using a variety of beef bones, and a whole lot more of them pound-for-pound than your average stock requires. They come from grass-fed, pasture raised cows fed organic feed, and there should be a variety of joints, ligaments, and tendons in the mix. That's a tall order to fill for a home cook on a budget.

The fact that the whole animal butchery and bone brothing is catching on means that quality bone marrow fetches for $6.99/lb (sometimes more) at my local Whole Foods. And for a home-sized batch (about 6 cups of broth), you need one and half pounds marrow, plus a pound of neck and oxtail combined.

In the paleo world, and for those who are concerned with flavor, it's best to use a variety of bones, and most people choose to include bone marrow in the mix. Some suggest a mix of femur, knuckles, feet, joints, and ligaments. Most easily accessible for me to find was bone marrow, beef neck and oxtail.

That marrow is not only delicious, but is supposedly high in collagen that's meant to be good for the skin. Those drinking bone broth for health reasons also believe that it's good for joint, skin and gut health. (Canora himself turned to broth and a Paleo diet when he was diagnosed pre-diabetic, depressed and showing signs of gout.)

The second major difference between stock and the new bone broth is the sheer amount of time that it takes to make it. Some folks simmer it stovetop for several days up to a week. Though purists might frown on it, I love using a pressure cooker for making bone broth. (I use a T-Fal Clipso.) The cooking time is cut down to two hours, most of which is inactive, and you can skim (or dégorger, as my French professor called it in culinary school) it after it's been refrigerated.

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While I can't speak to the health claims of bone broth, I will say that after making several test rounds by cobbling together recipes, the stuff is delicious. Not only does it make an excellent sipping soup, but it's also a super rich and flavorful base to use when preparing risottos, stews, glazing vegetables, and even finishing seared meat.

I make mine mostly-salt free so that it can be used in various applications. (I do add unfiltered apple cider vinegar to draw out nutrients from the bones, and fish sauce for a hit of umami, a trick I learned from Nom Non Paleo.) If I'm sipping it solo, I add a tablespoon or so made of a mix of minced ginger, garlic, lemon, honey, and Thai chilies with some salt to spice it up. It's the ultimate cure for what ails you. (Canora also sells his soup with a variety of condiments at his New York storefront.)

On it's own, though, you should consider bone broth an upgraded, super dense stock. So dense fact, when it comes out of the fridge, it should jiggle like jello. That's the gelatin that comes from the bones, which according to PaleoLeap contains several very important “non-essential” proteins, especially proline and glycine.

You can watch my video above to see how it's done. And there's a list of ingredients and instructions below if you'd like to try this at home.

Bone Broth

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Ingredients

1/2 lb oxtail
1.5 lbs bone marrow
1 lb neck
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 carrot, chopped in 3
1 celery, chopped in 3
1/2 onion, peeled
1 bouquet of herbs (2 rosemary, 2 thyme, parsley, bay leaf tied in butcher twine)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
8-9 cups water
salt & pepper to taste
Cheese cloth or mesh strainer

Method

1. Season bones with salt and pepper, then roast on a lipped baking sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

2. While bones are roasting, prepare mise en place of 3 garlic cloves, 1 carrot cut into three pieces, 1 stalk celery cut into three pieces, 1/2 a peeled onion, and a bouquet of herbs. (You can tie together the herbs with butcher twine to make removing them from the broth easier later.)

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3. Place ingredients in pressure cooker, plus the bones when they're done roasting.

4. Add fish sauce and apple cider vinegar.

5. Cover with about 8 cups water til pressure cooker is 2/3 full.

6. Lock and cover, wait until pressure valve releases steam, lower to simmer, and cook for 90 minutes. Gently release pressure according to your pressure cooker's instructions.

7. Cool on stovetop, then transfer to heat safe tupperware. Cool in fridge.

8. Skim off fat.

9. Reheat, add salt and condiments. Slurp.