Flash back to 5 years ago, I was chatting to Angelica, my regular check out lady at the grocery store, when she made a comment about knowing a lady who had never made a soup or broth from an actual chicken before. Cue my mind being blown from the fact that you could actually make beef, chicken, fish, pork or vegetable stock yourself at home. Unlike in Angelica’s family, this tradition had not been passed down from generation to generation in this ladies or mine for that matter. This led to me frantically googling bone broth recipes as soon as I got home and from that day on I have not bought stock from the supermarket.
I decided early on that the easiest way to do it was in the slow cooker. We do not have the most reliable oven and with the long cooking time, it’s a no brainer for me. At first the smell of the broth cooking put me off but now I love waking up to or coming home to the smell. There is something so nourishing and comforting about the smell for me now.
Flash back again to 5 years ago when I made my first batch, religiously following the recipe measuring and weighing everything to ensure I got it right. Then having to suffer through the smell while straining and bottling the liquid gold into smaller portions to freeze. To now where I just chuck the bones and whatever vegetable scraps I have saved up, adding extra vegetables in if I feel like it for the added benefits, to actually enjoying straining and bottling it, even eating little morsels from the slow cooker as I go and relishing the fact that this liquid is going to nourish my body in a way no store bought variety can.
Let me tell you why it is so beneficial for us.
When cooking the bones over a long period of time it causes the bones to leech out nutrients and the connective tissue to break down, also supplying essential nutrients. These include calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, collagen, gelatin, glucosamine and chondroitin. These nutrients regulate our immune system, the structure and function of our gut, muscle and nerve function, inflammation and are essential for connective tissue integrity.
The nutrient content depends on where you are sourcing your bones. Buy local, fresh, organic, grass fed products to ensure you are gaining the most from your broth. Plus you are ensuring the whole animal is being used, making sure nothing is being wasted from the sacrifice of the animals life.
So it really is a no brainer. Plus once you make broth from scratch and see how easy, cheap and delicious it is, you will not go back to buying stock from the supermarket again!
*Note: This recipe is for beef broth. If using chicken, roast 1-2 whole chickens first, strip majority of the meat and add the chicken carcass/es in plus a couple of chicken feet. For vegetable broth omit the bones and add 1 tbsp dulse flakes. For fish broth add 2-3 fish carcasses, including the head.
Slow Cooker Beef Broth
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes Cook Time: 16-24hours Makes: 3-4L
Ingredients- suitable for a 4L slow cooker, adjust as necessary for a smaller/larger capacity
- 2kg of beef bones
- 1 whole head of garlic, chopped in half horizontally- no need to peel
- 1 onion, cut in quarters- no need to peel
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped- no need to peel
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5cm fresh turmeric, roughly chopped
- 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dulse flakes
- 1 Tbspp nutritional yeast
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 Tbsp dried Thyme or 3 sprigs of fresh time
- Water to cover
- Roast bones for 20 mins on 200C (optional).
- Place bones in slow cooker, place all other ingredients on top and cover with water.
- Cook on low for 16-24 hours for beef; 12 hours for chicken, fish and vegetable.
- Strain off liquid into jars and refrigerate until cooled.
- Remove fat off the top and save to use as cooking fat.
- Refrigerate stock you will use in 7 days, freeze the rest for use within 6 months.
- Roasting beef bones is optional, however it will deepen the flavour.
- I generally do 18 hours for beef bones.
- Add any other herbs or vegetables in you wish- avoid adding broccoli, cabbage, tomato, chili, sweet potato, pumpkin as these alter the flavour in a not so positive way
- Aim to drink 1 cup per day, add to recipes in place of water, use to cook rice or vegetables.
- I use old passata jars to store in the freezer to save buying new jars, plus they fit well in the freezer doors!
- The dogs love eating the carrots at the end.
- The acid such as ACV is really important as it helps break down the connective tissue.
- Avoid cooking beef bones for longer than 24hrs or chicken for longer than 12 to avoid the broth becoming bitter.