Bones, especially beef bones, have become spectacularly popular lately, often resulting in our selling out long before we’ve sold the rest of the meat that also belonged to the steer or cow. For the cow I brought to the butcher this week I requested that they return every single bone they could get me, sawing up even the larger hip and shoulder blades into stockpot-sized pieces. So fear not, I hope to have a lot more in our freezer within the next few weeks.
For anyone who wants to order bones in the meantime, we’ve been making the following suggestions for bone alternatives:
- Beef: Consider boney cuts like Sliced Shank (aka Osso buco) or Short Ribs. These are slow braising cuts. After making a meal with the meat from these cuts you can recycle the bones into a bone broth. Then repeat the process making a second or third batch of bone broth. Each batch will be progressively weaker, but the later batches make good braising liquids, so you can use them to braise another shank or short rib meal, thus continuing the cycle.
- Stewing Chickens: Our older hens and roosters are tough birds, but their broth is more flavorful than broth made with broilers (the general trend with all animals is that with age the meat gets tougher, but the flavors are always better). So if you start stewing the chicken in the crockpot or stovetop on Friday night, by Saturday afternoon you’ll have a tasty broth along with a bowl full of meat. You should be able to shred most of the meat off the carcass with a fork and only a little knife work, so there isn’t any difficult carving involved. If it were up to me, I’d make tacos with the shredded chicken, just piling on some lime, cilantro, sour cream. I’d also add a scrambled egg to the taco, but that’s just me.
- Pork Bones: We have leg bones and hocks (same cut as the beef osso buco, but not sliced as thin) which also can be used for broth, soup, and stock. Pork broth has a different flavor which generally isn’t as tasty for drinking straight like chicken or beef broth. But it makes a good braising base for both pork and beef cuts. I also recommend using it as the liquid in which rice is cooked (especially for a paella or a risotto). And of course pork bones and hocks have a long tradition in American Southern bean dishes.
Now I’ll finish up with a few more World War II Propaganda posters in the bone genre. They illustrate both the urgent wartime needs and the manipulative aspects of wartime rhetoric.