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Murphy’s Beef Broth from Voyager

Murphy’s Beef Broth from Voyager


“Wot, not the broth, too?”  Murphy said.  The cook’s broad red face lowered menacingly.  “Which I’ve had folk rise from their deathbeds after a sup of that broth!”

He took the pannikin of broth from Fergus, sniffed at it critically, and thrust it under my nose.

“Here, smell that, missus.  Marrow bones, garlic, caraway seed, and a lump o pork fat to flavor, all strained careful through muslin, same as some folks bein’ poorly to their stomachs can’t abide chunks, but chunks you’ll not find there, not a one!”

The broth was in fact a clear golden brown, with an appetizing smell that made my own mouth water, despite the excellent breakfast I had made less than an hour before.  Captain Raines had a delicate stomach, and in consequence had taken some pains both in the procurement of a cook and the provisioning of the galley, to the benefit of the officers’ table.

Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 41 – We Set Sail)

Which Outlander character reminds you most of yourself?

He or she may not be your favourite.  Instead, I’m curious about the character who best reflects your personality and actions in the real world, as you go about your day.

Your “Outlander Mirror,” let’s call him/her.

mirepoix for beef broth

For me, the answer is, without a doubt, Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy.  Murph and I are a couple of chips off the old chef block.

We’re grumpy ( and sometimes downright surly) until you hit the right note with your conversation.  It’s not a coincidence there are a lot of reality shows filmed in restaurant kitchens, aye?  Every one I’ve ever worked in has been hot, steamy, cramped and hurricane paced — and full of sharp knives — add a TV crew and hot lights, and you don’t need a script for Chef Ramsay to lose his rag.  It happens most nights…even when the cameras aren’t there.  Trust me.

As for Claire, she had Murphy clocked before he even let her into his galley.  Mention cardamom, nutmeg, anise, ginger root, vanilla beans, and the holy grail, saffron — even to a 21st Century chef — and we’re putty in your hands.

bones for beef broth

Like most cooks/chefs (most of us prefer cook — chef translates as leader — and there is never room for more than 1 chef in any kitchen, no matter it’s size), Murphy takes his food  seriously.  We are feeders, when you get down to it, and food is more about just filling an empty stomach.  A comforting bowl of stock can soothe a sore tummy, energize a body wracked with illness, or warm you down to your toes when you come in out of the rain.

There is a very good chance that Murphy used veal bones to make his stock.  Young bones contain a higher percentage of cartilage and other connective tissue than older ones, and the collagen in the connective tissues is converted to gelatin and water during the cooking process.  When it’s all finished, the higher the gelatin content of the stock, the richer and more full-bodied the stock.  The younger the animal, the better the stock.

That said, I use beef bones to make my stock.  For one thing, the way most veal is raised makes it unacceptable to most these days.  Free-range veal is an option — less controversial than their formula-fed, white-fleshed cousins whose praises my Chefs continually sang — and although the flesh of the free-range is much darker and (I’m told) has a much more substantial flavour than that of the formula-fed, I doubt very much that there is a significant difference in their bones.

My other reason for using beef bones is that I live on a small island where I can’t get veal bones.  Sometimes, circumstances make choices verra, verra easy.

Ask your butcher for leg or shin bones, cut the way mine are above:  2-3″ thick, mostly trimmed of fat, and full of marrow.


Caraway is a unique addition to the bouquet garni, which is what flavour and aroma to a stock, in addition to the bones and mirepoix (onions, carrot and celery).

The seeds add a light, smoky flavour, and are known for their ability to quell an angry, nauseated tummy.

beef broth

Outlander recipes where you can use your beef stock:


broth-pannikin- copy

As with my recipes for Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock, you’ll notice that salt is missing from the list.  NEVER SALT A STOCK.  When you use your stock in a soup or sauce, or serve it, steaming in mugs for those coming out of the cold, is the time to season it with salt.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Murphy’s Beef Broth from Voyager

:Beef stock made the old-fashioned way.  Full of flavour and body, this crystal clear, protein-rich nectar is the base for soups and sauces that will heal the body and soothe the soul.

Yield:  approx 5 Quarts

  • Beef Bones – 3 lbs
  • Onion, roughly chopped – 1 medium
  • Carrot, roughly chopped – 1 small
  • Celery, roughly chopped – 1 medium stalk
  • Tomato Paste – 1 Tble (optional — see notes)

Bouquet Garni:

  • Garlic, halved – 2 cloves
  • Caraway Seeds – 2 tsp
  • Parsley Stems – 6
  • Bay Leaves – 2
  • Peppercorns, whole – 6

Place the beef bones in a stockpot and cover with 1” of cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  When the pot has boiled rapidly for 2 minutes, drain and discard the water.  Rinse the bones well, return them to the stockpot and cover with 5 quarts of water.

Bring the bones to the boil again then reduce the heat to low.  Add the onions, carrots, celery and tomato paste, if using.  Tie the bouquet garni together in a square of cheesecloth or enclose in a large tea ball and submerge in the pot.

Simmer gently for 6-8 hours, skimming the surface of the stock occasionally to remove fat and scum.  Top up the water as needed.

Remove from the heat and ladle the stock through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter, rather than pouring it from the pot.  The stock at the bottom is generally heavy with sediment.  I usually give it to the dog.

Strain and cool your stock, then refrigerate, then remove the hardened fat from the surface of the cold stock.

Use as a base for soups, sauces, gravies, etc.  To serve as is, heat to boiling, then season with salt and pepper.

Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Freeze for up to 8 weeks.


  • A true white stock has no colour in it.  If you prefer a golden hue for soups or sauces, include the tomato paste for colour.
  • Cool the stock quickly in a glass or non-reactive metal container. Plastic containers insulate hot food and delay cooling and increase the chances of food-borne illness.
  • Easy French Onion Soup:  caramelize 3 or 4 onions in the slow cooker or on the stovetop.  When deep golden brown, combine the onions, beef broth, a sprig of thyme and salt & pepper in a saucepan.  When just boiling, add a good glug or 2 of sherry and boil gently for 2 minutes.  Pour into serving bowls, and if desired, top with a slice of bread and shredded cheese.  Broil until melted and serve.


  1. Mary Lou
    October 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I read years ago that if you put white vinegar in with the bones and COLD water, that the vinegar will also extract some of the minerals out of the bones too. The smell boils off so you never taste any vinegar. I do not know why you must start with COLD water but since the article said so I do it. When I boil the turkey carcass for stock and I do this the whole carcas comes fully apart and the broth is sort of cloudy. I guess it is the dissolved bone in the stock. But when I finish my soup it does not matter to me if I do not have a clear stock as my soups are usually like stew in the end, just not thickened with flour or cornstarch.
    I also had forgotten about the caraway being good for touchy stomachs, but recalled it when you wrote it. Now I remember why there is a jar of them in my spice rack, although they are probably no good anymore, but I remember asking myself what I had those for, now I am going to put a note on the jar.
    Thanks for your recipe.

    • Theresa
      October 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      You start with cold water because hot water “cooks” the exterior of the bones too quickly and seals all of the goodness inside.

      I have never put vinegar in my stock — despite claims that it draws out additional calcium from the bones, it doesn’t improve the nutritional value of the stock in any appreciable way. Most importantly, as you say, it causes cloudy stock which, in professional kitchens, is considered unusable.

  2. Marci
    October 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I’m so glad the cold weather is finally coming on, I can’t wait to try my hand at making your wonderful sounding beef and chicken stock. Yum!

    • Theresa
      October 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

      Enjoy your soups, sauces and stocks, Marci!

  3. Cindi
    October 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Very interestingly, both caraway and black pepper have been shown to increase the bioavailability of various nutrients to include amino acids, which of course abound in broth. Very nice! I hadn’t thought to use caraway in my broth before, but I will certainly be trying it!

  4. William Still
    October 16, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Great stock recipe, I could not agree more with you about veal bones and beef bones and also about not adding salt. You really give great tips along with your recipes and that is what makes your website here very relevant and informational. You also include the addition of caraway which is an old method that has been lost to many over the years. It really gives the broth a great flavor when used with the bouquet garni. When I was working as a Chef and needed a good consomme this method of preparation was almost the standard for the stock and then of course for a consomme we would clarify it with ground veal or beef and a miripoix mixed with egg whites. The consomme almost always came out beautifully clear and full of flavor. We then would heat and season to taste and at the last minute add a bit of sherry.

  5. Dawn
    November 16, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Could you include parsnips instead of carrots and get a similar flavor? I ask because my husband and son are allergic to carrots.

    • Theresa
      November 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Yes, that will work just fine, Dawn!

  6. Anna Lapping
    January 21, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Where’s the “Like” button? There were great comments above, and I always learn something new from your recipes. I have never added the caraway seed but I will try it.

  7. Carol Mackey
    January 21, 2015 at 11:46 am

    A nice find on a snowy, blowy day here in CO. My eldest son brought me a venison leg in October (at my request) bcause I wante to try it for stock–alas, it’s not cut up 🙁 . Vacuum packaged by the processor, it should be okay while I “endeavour to persevere” in finding someone with an appropriate saw–sterilized hacksaw, maybe? Hope you’re enjoying your respite from the cooollllddd!! For the nonce, I shall make chicken soup.

    • Theresa
      January 26, 2015 at 8:34 am

      I have used a hacksaw from the tool bench in a similar situation, Carol…I wiped it with alcohol and went for it! Good way to work up an appetite…and it boils for a long time…no health worries. 🙂

  8. Carissa
    February 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    My little 17 month old peanut has been sick with a little tummy virus all day. I had some beef soup bones from the butcher sitting in my freezer and I thought what better way to use them than to make a yummy broth for my darling girl’s yucky tummy. It’s sitting on the stovetop, and ought to be ready soon. Hope it soothes my little one! Thanks for the recipes, Theresa!! Looking forward to the future publication of your Outlander Cookbook 😉

    • Theresa
      February 4, 2015 at 6:59 am

      I hope she feels better soon! The broth will soothe for sure…I have no doubt.

  9. Tara
    May 10, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Would this recipe work in a pressure cooker?

    • Theresa
      May 10, 2015 at 7:09 am

      Should do, with the timing adjusted!

  10. Corissa
    August 20, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Can this kept in the freezer or canned?

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