My 72-Hour Beef Broth

DSC_8148That’s right.  Seventy-two hours.  This is the kind of broth that will make a hundred dishes swoon-worthy.  This is the kind of thing you make when you really FEEL your food.  When you consider yourself an alchemist.  A rogue.  A guns-blazing, ax wielding badass of a cook.

DSC_7437If you’re any kind of a pansy at all, turn away.  You can’t handle this truth.  I use two different kinds of soup bones for this broth, and a special touch which I’ll reveal in a minute.   First, observe the above.  We’ve got beef soup bones along with “meaty” beef soup bones.  Basically some ball and socket joints and a few cross-sections of back ribs.  Beef, of course.  What you want to do is arrange them like so on a baking sheet, over aluminum foil.

DSC_7541Now roast them in a 425 degree oven for thirty minutes or so.   You’re going to really like that deep meaty aroma.  The Japanese call this “umami”.  It’s the meaty quality of a dish.  That deep, feel-in-your-soul flavor.  That’s why this broth is so worth making.  I’ll talk more about the powers of this “umami” on another post.  But let’s just say that it has the power to bring a grown-man to tears.  In a good way.

DSC_7581Throw all those bones in a crock pot and cover with water.  Next add two onions and about four stalks of celery.  To top of the magic of this broth, add one smoked ham hock.  You used to only find these in the south, but I’m pretty sure you can find them anywhere now.  Smoked pork neck bones will work too.
Cover the crockpot and plug it in.  LOW.  Keep adjusting the time.  I usually do it in twelve-hour increments.  Three full days.  72 hours.  If your crockpot automatically turns off and your broth cools, sorry, but it’s ruined.  Bacteria can grow if this shuts off and you forget about it for a time.  That kind of bacteria passing through the digestive tract would definitely make a grown man cry.  And not in a good way.

I digress.

Keep track of this.  Once in a while, my crockpot thinks I’ve gone crazy and shuts itself off.  It’s like “Whoa, she’s gone off her rocker and she’s going to burn the house down…MISSION ABORT…MISSION ABORT”.  And I’m like “shut up”, and I turn it back on again.

If you have young children in the house, be very careful.  This is hot.  And it could do a lot of damage to a child if they knock it over.  Baby gates.  Baby gates.   DSC_8132Three days of near-boiling point will do amazing things, chemically.  Cooking is really one big chemistry project.  Fascinating stuff.
DSC_8134Here’s a gruesome sight.  This is what’s left of the bones after they’ve simmered for three days.  Kind of like something from The Walking Dead.  I don’t know why I love that show so much.  It’s so very gruesome.  But oh my goodness, it’s just so entertaining!!  Glen!!!  Glen!!!

DSC_8148

DSC_8177My husband calls my little collection of broths and fats, my “creepy little jars”.  He knows that the creepy little jars are some kind of sacred, though, because if you accidentally throw them out, I go completely guano.  You can keep fat in the fridge for a few months.  The broth though, should be used before two weeks.  If that’s not feasible, freeze it.  It freezes very well.
By the way, if you have not explored the world of home-rendered fats, you are in for a grand adventure.  I used this beef fat last night on grilled sandwiches.  They were corned beef, mozzarella and spinach on ciabatta.  I rubbed the bread with the beef fat then threw them on the George Foreman.  My family raved.
DSC_8182Have a good day.

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