Bone Broth 101
" An old fashioned remedy for a modern world"
“In pretty much every country in the world, something hot and brothy cooked in a pot and served in a bowl is viewed as uniquely nourishing. Soup places low demands on the eater. It treats you as a child, who may or may not know how to use a knife and fork. You do not have to chop, or even to chew. Soup is what our mothers gave us when we were ailing. It’s what we return to after a hard day at work, when all we want to do is curl up in a fetal position on the sofa. “~Bee Wilson
I absolutely love making bone broth. Sally Fallon, Author of “Nourishing Broth” calls it “ an old fashioned remedy for a modern world” and I agree. I feel like I’m participating in a tradition that’s been practiced for thousands of years when I make bone broth, and I absolutely love that connection to my ancestors.
Bone broth is a wonderful treat for every part of you but especially for your tummy. It’s been used for centuries by so many cultures to support digestive and kidney health. It’s a truly magical food, a healing food. Making it is one part practicality and two parts alchemy. You need bones, vegetables and good water, but that is not all. The magic happens when you add fire, steady and focus for an extended period of time. That’s whats needed to extract all of that flavor. You can’t rush bone broth. Even in the Instant pot where the cooking time is shortened, you’ve added intense, focused pressure. Take all the time you need, in fact, take an entire day to do this. It’s fun and you won’t regret it at all. Well made bone broth is an absolutely wonderful base for any soup that you’d usually used boxed broth for and it’s just so much better for you. If you’ve never made it yourself, I hope you’ll try after you’ve read this . Be sure to let me know what you think.
To make bone broth I use the leftovers from my roasted chickens and whatever other bones I have saved and into the pot they go. I always make sure that the chickens still have some meat on them and plenty of skin, because that’s where the flavor comes from. Various other bits are added too, like garlic and onions ( with the skins on for color!) and corn cobs, basically whatever I’ve saved in the freezer over the past two weeks. Turmeric and other seasonings go in as well along with a bit of apple cider vinegar to soften the bones. I add the salt when I am finished cooking.
Usually I add water from my filter pitchers but tonight I added the leftover cooking water from several huge beets and an enormous handful of the beet greens. The reason I only use filtered water in my broth is because the cooking process reduces and concentrates your broth and the chemicals from tap water mostly do not boil off.
Two hours later on high pressure I have broth fit for a JewWitch grandmother ( which I will soon be!) By tomorrow after it’s rested overnight in the refrigerator it will be wonderfully gelatinous , full of collagen and perfect for soups or just enjoying on its own , heated up and garnished with some chopped herbs. Who knows, maybe some matzo balls like my mother used to make with crushed matzo and fresh dill. This is the original Jewish penicillin. Breathe in all of that chicken fat and smile.
Remember too, you can use fish heads, shellfish and other seafood sources and make a terrific bone broth as well. The secret is the long, steady cooking and a steady temperature so that the collagen and gelatin are broken down evenly. The sign of a great bone broth is that 24 hours after you've finished, it becomes gelatinous, just like when you've roasted a chicken or rib roast and you find that wonderful jellied gravy in the pan the next morning. Even if it doesn't get jellied, it's still so good for you. The secret to having it get all jiggly are the bones you use. Try neck bones, chicken feet, oxtails, marrow bones....anything with cartilage. Use organic or grass fed bones if you can find them. You’ll definitely notice the difference in flavor.
Make sure that you use the chicken skin. Your wrinkles and dry skin will love all of that extra collagen! I had little Russian aunties who rubbed that fat into their skin and you’d never have known how hard they’d worked all of their lives until you looked at their sturdy , strong hands. They always smelled good too, like chicken, dumplings and vegetables.
Remember this is not your normal pot of soup . By the time you're done, if you've cooked it right, everything in the pot will be tasteless. So as not to waste it I give the meat to my dog who will eat anything. The cat won't touch it. Please don't give the bones to your pets because they will have become too brittle.
The flavor of any vegetables you choose, even onions and garlic will get lost in the cooking process. What they will add is depth, nutrition and deep flavor, but they won't be easily recognizable so save the flavoring for later when you’re ready to add some herbs and spice.
The recipe for bone broth is essentially the same whether or not you make it in a stock pot, Instant Pot or slow cooker. The Instant Pot cooks it much faster and I think that it does an amazing job. It's a pressure cooker and it does in a total 3 and a half hours what can't be done in under 8 hours in the traditional way. That being said, I just want you all to try making your own bone broth and I don't really care what you cook it in. If you use the slow cooker just put all of the ingredients in and turn it on low for 10 to 12 hours. If you use the insta pot, my recommendation is to use the high pressure setting for about 150 minutes. If you use a traditional stock pot you’ll be simmering it for at least 8 hours or more.
Your kitchen will smell absolutely wonderful and you'll have a fabulous broth to show for it. Regardless of which kitchen cauldron you use, add about a cup of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This will help leech all of the minerals from the bones. Some say this is just fallacy. I say what can it hurt?
The beauty of a pot of bone broth, is that it's the perfect tonic that you can doctor differently each time! This type of broth loves to be heated up on a chilly morning and served with lots of add-ins! Have fun! For a broth that's predominantly poultry, I love to add some maple syrup, onion, cracked pepper and crisped sage. You can add jammy eggs, rice or miracle noodles, corn , onions, fresh herbs, nori and garlic and create your own ramen! For a beef broth , how about some ginger, scallion, garlic and soy? Or for chicken or beef you could add chili powder, garlic, onion, cocoa powder and raisins, like a bone broth mole! You could slice up some leeks , cube some potatoes, add some cream and have an instant potato leek chowder. This is a perfect base for French onion soup, vegetable soup or any sort of chowder. Add beets and make borscht. Each pot of broth seems to want to be made into something different and that’s the magic of it. This particular batch is DEFINITELY going to be matzo ball soup.
Whatever you do with it, bone broth IS superfood and I try to never be without it. My husband loves it. I pour it all over the dogs food and his skin is just so supple and I've noticed that he’s shedding a lot less than he was.
Strain the broth into glass jars or you can use quart size plastic freezer containers. However, unless you freeze it, bone broth is only good for about 7 days. If you smell it and it smells funky, pitch it please unless you’re trying to grow your own antibiotics:)
Bone broth is so rich in amino acids, collagen and gelatin that you'll want to always have it on hand, because when you see and feel the reported benefits...like suppler softer skin, increased mobility and a happier gut, you'll begin to understand why this dense rich broth has always been a staple in so many diets all over the world.
Here’s a little cheat sheet that you can save! In the next week I’ll write down my vegan version which is every bit as wonderful to make and every bit as good for you! Let me know how you decide to make yours!
Eating matzo ball soup for the first time was akin to a religious experience because of how deeply contemplative it was. It made me realise that something as simple as chicken soup - in any culture or religion, or through any perspective - can be very symbolic, nourishing and meaningful.
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