Homemade Broth on the Wood Stove
Our wood stove really makes our house feel like a home. I love having the warmth in winter, plus it’s so nice to fill the tea kettle for hot drinks all day. We also cook on our wood stove quite a bit, reducing our energy bills and making me feel all homesteady inside. 🙂
I decided to cook some beef broth on our wood stove recently. We had quite a few soup bones in the freezer from our last grass fed steer purchased from a local farmer. I loaded up my biggest pan with meaty bones, a package of stew meat, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and enough water to cover it all. I dropped in a couple of bay leaves and set the whole mess on top of our wood stove. In cold weather we like to keep a low to medium fire burning all day and then let it burn down to ashes overnight. This is the perfect way to cook your broth at a simmer to tenderize the meat and leach the minerals from the bones for a healthy stock.
I’ve read so many wonderful blog posts describing the health benefits of bone broth, so I won’t delve into that here. Let me just say that I love using as much of the animal as I can to provide a nutritious soup or stew for my family. It’s great to use the wood stove to reduce the environmental cost of cooking. And I really enjoy having a yummy bowl of vegetable beef soup for dinner while the weather is still cold and snowy.
After cooking the bones and meat all day, we cooled the stock pot in a snow drift on our deck for a couple of hours then refrigerated it for the rest of the night. In the morning I poured everything through a strainer and picked through the bones and meat.
I sorted everything into 3 piles: meat for our soup, bones for the chickens to pick, and fat/gristle. The meat was cut into smaller pieces and added back into the broth. The fat can be rendered into tallow and cracklings. The tallow should be poured through a strainer lined with cheese cloth or linen to remove the impurities. The cooled tallow may be used in beauty products or as an oil substitute in cooking. The cracklings can be fed to your dog or chickens. The broth and meat mixture was used in soup or frozen for later meals.
It’s so nice to have a few containers of beef and broth ready to thaw and use for a quick meal.