I love making homemade soups and stews, but I’m kind of picky about the stocks I use in them. If I go grocery shopping in the city, I can usually find decent organic beef and chicken stock that doesn’t have a lot of salt in them, but the taste is usually meh. I’ve made homemade stock and bone broth before, but doing it the traditional way is extremely time consuming. I guess it’s really not that bad—if you have an entire day that you can devote to watching your pot. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time, so when I got my Instant Pot, I thought I’d give stock making another go, and I’m so glad I did. The pressure cooker does all the work, and in the end, I had a flavorful, delicious beef stock to use however I wanted.
I have the 6-quart Instant Pot, so I really didn’t end up with a bunch of beef bone broth. After filling the pressure cooker to its limit, I ended up with just under 3 quarts of stock, just enough really for a good batch of soup. One day I might get ambitious and make several batches of bone broth and pressure can it, but for now, this small-size batch works for me. I can make up the stock and keep it refrigerated for a few days until I’m ready to use it. Instant flavor just sitting there ready to be used—if it makes it to soup anyway. I like to heat up a cup just to drink in all that collagen goodness.
You can make bone broth or stock with whatever you like as far as vegetables go. Just remember that using the pressure cooker intensifies the flavors of what you put in it. If you’re used to making stock with lots of veggies, you can cut back to just one stalk of celery or 1 piece of carrot. The cooker will infuse the broth with the flavor just fine. I make my stock without salt, but feel free to add some if you wish. I like to control the salt level when I’m making a recipe, and the salt-free stock helps me do this.
To help pull out all the goodness in the bones, you need to have some sort of acid in the pot. Most recipes call for adding some apple cider vinegar, but I’ve also seen a recipe that added a tomato. I’ll try that this summer when I have fresh garden tomatoes available, but this time I used a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, which added some really nice flavor.
I pressure cooked my stock for 120 minutes. I’ve seen recipes that will cook for just an hour, and you’ll still get great-tasting bone broth, but since I had the time, I wanted to get as much flavor as I could. A lot of recipes call for roasting the bones in the oven before making the stock. I’ve done that, and it does add a richness of flavor, but you can simply sauté the bones in the Instant Pot until nicely browned, if you want, and you’ll get the same result plus save a bunch of time. Or you can simply add everything to the pressure cooker, seal the lid, and cook. That’s what I did.
Pressure Cooker Beef Stock
3-1/2 pounds meaty beef bones (my butcher had nice neck bones)
Half an onion
1 stalk of celery
1 carrot, unpeeled
1 clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
10 cups water (or enough to cover everything but not go past full capacity of the cooking pot)
Yield: I ended up with almost 3 quarts of bone broth.
Place all ingredients in the pressure cooker pot. Seal the lid. Select the manual setting, and set cooking time to 120 minutes. When the pressure cooker beeps, turn off the cooker, and let it naturally release the pressure. Mine took about 2 hours to come down to normal pressure. If you’re in a hurry, you can use the quick-release venting option.
Ladle stock through some cheesecloth into another large container or straight into glass Mason jars. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can keep in the refrigerator for a few days, or place in freezer containers and freeze until ready to use. If you make large batches of stock, you can also pressure can it. I recommend the Ball website for canning instructions.