By Rick Woodford, a.k.a. The Dog Food Dude
Things get buried in our freezer because I buy items on sale and freeze them for later use––later meaning much later in many cases. Last week I was cleaning out the freezer and came across some beef neck bones that I had purchased. I decided to put them to use––while simultaneously cleaning out the freezer and refrigerator––by making a hearty beef stew for my dogs.
I’m sure not everyone has beef neck bones just hanging out in their freezer, but they are widely available at grocery stores, and inexpensive to boot. They have a good amount of meat and roasting them provides a rich flavor to the broth.
To accompany the bones in the pot, you can use pretty much any vegetables you have in your produce bin. (Just remember, no onions.)
This stew is a great addition to any commercial food and with so much broth it’s extremely low in calories. Don’t be frightened by the serving sizes––this is about 1/3 the calories in dry food. You can also use this as part of a weight loss program for your dog by reducing the feeding amounts.
2 pounds beef neck bones
3 cups vegetables, roughly chopped.
1 sprig rosemary or other spices and herbs (1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or 1 tablespoon cumin, oregano or thyme are all good choices)
1 quart water
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spread bones in a baking dish and roast for 15-20 minutes. The meat should be slightly cooked and the bones will be richly colored, even blackened in some places.
Combine beef bones and vegetables in a large stockpot.
Add water to cover meat and vegetables by 1-inch.
Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-60 minutes – the longer you cook the more flavor will be developed and the more nutrients will leach into the broth.
Set a large colander over a large bowl and strain contents. Remove and discard any bone and chop the meat in appropriate bite size chunks for your dog. Recombine with the broth and serve!
Yield: About 8 cups, approximately 160 calories per cup (freeze any portion that will not be fed within 3-4 days).
10-pound dog 3/4 – 1 cup + dry food
20-pound dog 1 – 1 1/2 cups + dry food
40-pound dog 2 – 3 cups + dry food
60-pound dog 3-4 cups + dry food
80-pound dog 4-5 cups + dry food
Discard bones safely in the trash––your dog will be tempted by them, but cooked bones can splinter easily causing possible injury in the digestive tract.
Rick Woodford, a.k.a. “The Dog Food Dude,” is an expert on pet nutrition and wellness. He is the author of Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs (available for purchase on Amazon), a comprehensive collection of simple and nutritious recipes perfect for the busy pet parent on a budget.