It is thyme. . .
Thyme for Grass Fed Slow Cooker Beef Stock!
Look at that deep, rich brown color! Isn’t it beautiful?! And adding fresh thyme to the stock really makes all the difference in flavor!
It took me long enough, but I’ve FI-nally join the ranks of homemade beef stock makers! And let me just say; now that I’ve tried it. . . oh baby there is no going back! This stuff is SO GOOD! And although it’s not organic, it’s actually BETTER than organic because the stock bones come from a happy, small-farm, grass-fed local cow!
I was inspired to finally take the plunge and make my own stock, when I was visiting my uncle and his wife last year (yes, I pondered the idea for a year before actually doing it). They had beef stock simmering in their slow cooker while I was visiting them last year. It smelled A-MAZING while it was cooking, tasted amazing too!
Their recipe is based on Wellness Mama’s recipe, but they amped it up by roasting the veggies and stock bones. . .
and adding a sprig of fresh thyme!!
Nothing makes me feel cooler than having jars of homemade, grass-fed beef stock in my freezer!
The flavor of this stuff doesn’t even COMPARE to store-bought beef stock, by the way. Costco’s organic beef stock used to be my go-to, but not any more. Well, maybe sometimes. . .
So let’s get started! Thyme for Grass-Fed Slow Cooker Beef Stock!
I used a combination of knuckle and marrow bones from my one of my local grass-fed beef suppliers ( I think these were from Truth Hill Farm). They ain’t pretty, but they are so nutritious!
Thyme for some brown Jello-O! The reason I like to use knuckle and marrow bones is that it makes my finished stock look like this. It looks like Jello-O, doesn’t it? That’s because it has lots of healthy, natural, gelatin in it! Gelatin is SO good for us! Among other things, it’s high in glutathione which helps heal arthritis and gut issues.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation,
“Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”
So, back to the recipe. . . first, I roasted the bones on a baking pan for about 30 minutes.
After they were roasted, I placed the bones into the slow cooker, using tongs. It was kind of fun. Tongs are fun.
Then, I put some root veggies onto the baking pan and roasted them too. (If I was a genius, I would have roasted both the veggies and the meat simultaneously on TWO baking pans.) Maybe you’re a genius, and you’ll do it that way.
The veggies don’t have to be roasted, but I love the flavor of roasted anything. And I think my uncle’s beef stock used roasted veggies too. . . Roasting the bones and veggies gives the broth a rich flavor and darker brown color.
After transferring the roasted veggies to the slow cooker, I deglazed the baking sheet by pouring a smidge of water onto it and scraping the yummy brown bits off with a spatula. And then eating them. Just kidding– I added them into the slow cooker.
Then, I added a sprig of fresh thyme,
and enough water to almost cover the vegetables and bones.
I set the slow cooker to ‘low’ and let it cook (with the lid on). I let it cook, and cook. . .
And cook. . .
I think it cooked for 24 hours, although I kind of lost track. . .
When I decided that it was done cooking, I got out my largest bowl and my colander.
I placed the colander inside the large bowl, and poured the beef stock into the colander. This is what is left. Lovely, isn’t it? Into the trash it went.
So I was left with the beautiful, brown liquid part of the stock. The next step was to strain the stock further, to take out any small bits of veggies or thyme branches that were left in the stock.
I got out my sieve and a large pot.
And poured the rich, brown stock through the sieve.
That yellow stuff floating on top is pure gold! It’s healthy fat from grass-fed cows. The yellower the color, the higher it is in caratenoids, Vitamins A, and K2 (I’m not a dr. or nutritionist, so don’t believe anything I say). After the stock had cooled down a bit, I covered it and put it in the fridge.
After a few hours, the fat layer had hardened and looked like this. I removed the hardened fat layer and saved it in a mason jar. I used it to make fried potatoes a couple weeks later.
This is what the finished, cold beef stock looked like! This batch was especially high in gelatin which is fantastic! Once the stock was heated, it became liquidy, and I couldn’t even see the gelatin.
At this point, I poured the stock into mason jars and proudly put them in the freezer, quietly giving myself the ‘Crunchy Mom of the Year’ award.
By the way, dry erase markers are brilliant for writing on containers going into the freezer! Also, these should have been labeled, ‘beef STOCK’. Broth is usually less hearty than stock, and this stuff was definitely stock status.
Thyme For Grass-Fed Slow Cooker Beef Stock
- 1 lb. grass-fed beef bones (knuckle bones and marrow bones are ideal!)
- 4 organic carrots
- 2 organic onions
- 4 organic celery stalks
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Place the bones and veggies on baking sheets.
- Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (or less if you’re in a hurry)- the darker the color, the more flavorful your stock will be!
- Transfer roasted bones and veggies to a large slow cooker.
- Add thyme and enough water to almost cover the veggies/bones.
- Cook on low for 24 hrs. or more.
- Strain stock through a colander.
- Strain stock through a sieve.
- Place in fridge to allow fat layer to harden, or skip this step and pour directly into mason jars for storing in freezer.