As autumn approaches, so do thoughts of soups, broths and other warm comfort foods, especially since we are acutely aware of a potential major flu outbreak. If you grow weary of chicken soup or broth, give this hearty beef broth a try. Keep some in freezer bags for convenience, and use for gravy, soups or additional flavor when needed.

Beef broth

You will need :
Stock pot or extra large, heavy pot
shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet
2 large bowls
cooking spray ( generic is fine for this )
slotted spoon
soup ladle
freezer bags or containers

4-5 #’s meaty beef bones or oxtails
small can tomato paste ( not sauce )
3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
4 celery ribs, cut into chunks
3-4 medium onions, quartered
1 pint mushrooms ( optional )
1/2 cup warm water
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 to 8 whole peppercorns ( or 1/2 tsp pepper )
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp salt
3- 4 quarts water ( depending on amount of bones )

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425*
Coat your roaster or cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Use a pastry brush or butter knife to coat the bones with tomato paste.
Place soup bones in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet. Bake uncovered at 425 for 30 minutes, turn over. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions. Bake another 30 minutes. Drain fat.

Use slotted spoon to transfer bones and vegetables to a large pot. Add about a half cup hot water to the roasting pan and stir to loosen browned bits. Place pan juices in pot. Add seasonings and enough cold water just to cover. Slowly bring to a boil, about 30 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and cook about 5 hours…longer for a more robust flavor. Skim off foam as it rises. Add small amounts of hot water during the first hour or two to keep ingredients covered.

Remove bones and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones and save meat for another use. Throw bones away. Strain broth through a fine colander or add cheesecloth to regular colander and strain. Eat, save or discard the veggies. ( I always eat the onions and carrots )
Ladle broth into freezer bags or other freezable container, remembering to not fill to the top…leave room for expansion. You may also freeze in an ice cube tray. Once frozen in tray, transfer to resealable freezer bag.
Enjoy a cup of broth or add to almost any dish for additional flavor.