INSTANT POT BONE BROTH

Bone broth continues to be one of the top trending foodie/health staples amongst home cooking enthusiasts, but is all that attention really justified? The short answer is yes. Most definitely yes. But don't settle for the watered down store bought options (or alternatively, a jar of "gourmet" bone broth which can cost more than a decent steak). Making it at home is convenient and easy. Especially when using an electric pressure cooker which not only cuts down significantly on the amount of time required, but also presents a safer option than leaving a pot simmering on your stove top for two days. However, more traditional approaches are still excellent if you're willing to put in the time. Or perhaps utilizing a slow cooker, which we demonstrated here in our previous bone broth recipe.

Bone broth is not only a valuable cooking staple which will give body, flavor, and depth to any dish, but it also utilizes some of the lesser known and often discarded parts of the animal which provide a host of health benefits such as collagen, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. Plus you can compliment it with other nutritious ingredients such as sea salt, fresh ginger and turmeric, herbs, spices, vegetables, etc. It's a perfect way to begin or end a meal and will also aid in digestion. The bottom line is this: make a batch every couple weeks and store it in the freezer until needed. If you're using it every day as we recommend, it will go fast. But bones are cheap and this recipe will show you exactly how to make it in an easy and straightforward manner.

One more added benefit of using the instant pot: cooking in the garage. Beef broth can create a funky aroma which some people find unsettling. Letting the pressure cooker do the work as opposed to filling your kitchen with the strong aromas for days at a time may help keep things happy in the home. Set the instant pot in the garage next to a plug, out of reach of any children or pets. Your roommates or family will thank you, especially when you share the end results.


INGREDIENTS

  • Beef bones cut into smaller chunks, 5 pounds. Ideally a combination of any of the following: meaty bones, knuckles, marrow, joints, oxtail, shank, neck, etc. Work with what you've got, but mix it up.
  • Water (ideally filtered)
  • Sea Salt

TIME AND DIFFICULTY

Step 1: Optional: first roast the bones. Place bones on a tray and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. The advantage of roasting the bones before hand is that it provides a darker, deeper flavor in the broth. Plus it can help render out some of the fat before hand. It is really very optional. Try it roasted and un-roasted to see which you prefer. If you are pressed for time, skip the roasting.

Step 2: Cleanse the bones once before starting. Add your bones to the instant pot and fill with cold water to the max fill line on the inside of the pot. Leave uncovered and set the "Saute" function on high until water is boiling (will take around 10 minutes). Allow to boil for about 1 minute and turn off. You will see a grey foam start to accumulate on the top of the broth. This is normal and the result of protein and blood in the bones. Most people will skim the surface of the broth for the first hour to remove this "scum", leaving you with a cleaner and clearer broth. To speed this process up, carefully strain the water from the bones from this first boil and start over again with clean cold water. No need to sit around and skim the surface. But it will be very hot so be careful not to burn yourself from the water or the steam as you strain. I prefer to remove the bones from the water with a slotted spoon and then pour out the water. Add the bones back to the pot and start again.

Step 3: Start the cooking. Cover the bones once again to the max fill line with cold water and add about a tablespoon of sea salt. Close and secure the lid and close the release valve to secure the vessel for pressure cooking. Set on high pressure for the max time of 240 minutes and let it pressure cook! Since beef bones are really dense, I cook the bone broth for two cycles of 240 minutes for a total of 8 hours pressure cooking. Once the first cycle of 240 minutes ends, you will need to reset it again for another 240 minutes on high pressure. After it completes cooking, turn it off and let it naturally depressurize for at least 30 minutes before opening the release valve.

*Note about timing: many times I will start this in the morning, then around lunch time when the first cycle has completed, reset it again for the second cycle of 240 minutes. Once the second cycle completes, you can leave the broth in the vessel for hours and hours. It will stay very hot and at safe temperatures, so you have flexibility in the timing of when you need to deal with the finished product. Sometimes I'll run the second cycle just before bed and deal with it the next morning. The instant pot defaults to a "keep warm" function after cooking and will keep it incredibly hot until you have time to deal with it, even after the "keep warm" function has ended.

Step 4: Strain the broth. Once the instant pot has depressurized and you can safely remove the lid, carefully remove the pot. You can now either strain into a different bowl, or use a small strainer or slotted spoon to remove all of the bones and solids, leaving you with a clean broth in the same pot. If you have any marrow bones leftover, be sure to empty out any remaining marrow from the insides and add that back to the broth. While this is technically a solid, it's a great addition to the broth. A little texture never hurt anybody! Or just eat it right then and there with a little salt. Don't worry about the fat in the broth. We will deal with that once it is completely chilled.

Step 5: Cool and store the broth. Once the broth is strained from the bones, I like to place the pot in an ice bath prepared in the sink. Plan ahead of time and pick up a bag of ice or use what you have in the freezer if it's enough. Add some cold water to the ice for quicker results. Stir it occasionally to help cool it evenly. We ideally want to cool the broth before putting it into the refrigerator for this reason: if you place the hot broth into the fridge, it will start to cool from the outside in, creating a kind of cold to hot zone inside the pot. This can potentially foster the conditions for the growth of unwanted bacteria. The likelihood of this happening is small because we are not using an enormous pot that will take many hours to properly cool in the fridge. I've sometimes skipped this step when short on time, but it is worth doing and very easy. Once the broth is evenly cooled after a half hour or more in the ice bath, put it in the fridge to solidify overnight. You will end up with a solid layer of fat on the top and your amazing, strong clean broth underneath. Remove the fat with a spoon and either keep it in a container in the freezer for cooking or discard.


NOTES ABOUT PORTIONING

  • We make beef bone broth with this method at least once every two weeks. Half of it stays in the fridge and the other half goes into the freezer and gets pulled back into the fridge after one week (to use after we've emptied the first container).
  • This fresh broth will last a week in the refrigerator without any problems if kept nice and cold.
  • When portioning and freezing, keep in mind that the broth will expand once frozen. So make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top of the container before placing into the freezer.
  • Store in jars, bags, or plastic containers. It's best to portion the broth into containers after it has completely cooled.
  • Portion broth into an ice cube container for ease of use. You can pop out a cube or two at a time to add to boiling water or a sauce.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE

  • The broth made with this method will produce a strong, thick result. If it contains a good amount of collagen/gelatin, it will look like jello when refrigerated.
  • In order to spread it out further, we often dilute it with a little water when using. So for drinking, we will add about half the bold broth to a mug and half with water, then either microwave or heat in a pot until boiling.
  • Season the broth as you use it with salt because we did not add much to begin with.
  • Lemon or lime is a great addition to a cup of hot broth.
  • Use the broth to make sauces and braised dishes. For a great sauce, cook down wine and broth together until thick and stir in butter at the final stage until melted and incorporated, taste for seasoning.

IDEAS FOR FLAVORS AND DIFFERENT TYPES OF BROTH

  • There are an endless amount of options when making broth. Start with a good base recipe and work from there. One of our favorite staples is fresh ginger and turmeric with star anise, cloves, and black peppercorns. These ingredients are added before initiating the second 240 cook cycle on the pressure cooker.
  • Alternatively, you can simmer the broth after it's completed on the stove top with additional ingredients and vegetables for a couple of hours: onion, garlic, carrots, fresh herbs, dried herbs, fennel bulb, tomatoes, etc. The sky is the limit.
  • Timing of additional ingredients: the reason we add other ingredients, particularly vegetables, for a short amount of time towards the end, is because they can become bitter after being cooked for too long. For this reason we don't add them at the beginning of the cook, but spices are okay to add at the beginning.
  • Mix up the broth by combining different types: pork, chicken, and/or beef. Combine into a pot and simmer with additional flavorings or seasonings before portioning and freezing. That way when you pull it out of the freezer to use it is ready to eat without needing anything.