Friday, June 17, 2016

Making Homemade Bone Broth

Lately, everyone’s talking about bone broth. Neighborhood stores like “Brodo” in New York are opening up selling it, and cookbooks are springing up left and right devoted to it. Is this a fad? What is the big deal about broth?

Well, there’s a very compelling reason to make it. Let me tell you why.

For one thing, bone broth is tremendously nutritious. People have been cooking down bones for centuries. There’s a reason why the Jews call it “Jewish Penicillin”. It kicks ass. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, bone broth:

1. Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage and collagen;
2. Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses;
3. Promotes strong,  healthy bones because of its collagen;
4. Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth; but most importantly, for me anyway,
5. Acts like a soothing balm to heal and seal your gut lining.


The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting digestion.

But there is one caveat:


I just had to capitalize that, to get your attention. The broth you buy at the supermarket does not have nearly the amount of nutrients, let alone flavor (and that’s what we’re all about on this site: nutrition and flavor!) that homemade broth contains. And there is absolutely no reason why you can’t make this yourself at home for a fraction of the cost of the store-bought stuff. Store-bought is expensive!

Here’s what you do. We’re going to make Chicken Broth because it’s my favorite. I’ve tried using beef bones (yuk) and pork bones (double yuk) and I’ve decided to just stick with chicken bones. But use whatever you like.  Over time, you’ll begin to discover what flavor combinations you like best.

Let’s say you’re into roasting your own chicken. Preferably you’ve got an organic bird. You’ve had dinner and taken off just about all of the meat. What’s left is a carcass that you would probably just toss. No need to waste it! We’re going to put it to use. This chicken is going to be recycled! (If you didn’t roast your own chicken, no worries. You can do this with a store-bought bird).

Take your bird carcass, add chunks of yellow onion, a couple of roughly chopped carrots and celery stalks, a bay leaf, a little salt and freshly ground pepper, maybe some herbs like rosemary and thyme, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (very important, I’ll tell you why in a bit), and throw all this into your slow cooker, adding enough filtered water to cover everything,  Set it on low, do the dishes, watch some TV, and go to bed.

The next morning, ignore it and go to work, leaving the slow cooker on. Yes, I’m serious.

When you come home, your house is going to smell heavenly. Turn off the slow cooker and let it come to room temperature. Strain out all the bones and vegetables, and divide the liquid into jars that you can use right away (refrigerating those), and freeze the rest in some freezer-friendly storage containers if you won’t be making a big pot of soup in the next few days.

What you have before you is a pot of gloriously deep golden broth, something that could never be achieved in the store-bought varieties. In comparison, commercially produced broth virtually chases the chicken through the water and out the other side. This broth that you just made has a complex bouquet of flavors unrivaled by anything on the market. Just look at it! It’s golden color is rich and full of life-giving goodness.

Just make it once. Please. I beg you. You will not be sorry. It will be the most delicious thing you could possibly add to any soup, or sauce, that you make.  It will add tremendous flavor to just about anything. If you eat rice or quinoa, use the stock in lieu of plain old water. You will be adding nutrients as well as flavor. If you have a day when you’re not feeling so good, ladle out some broth, maybe add some well-cooked veggies and just have that for dinner.  So soothing and delicious!

Now, the reason you want to add ACV (apple cider vinegar) is because it pulls nutrients out of the bones and into the broth.

Now, go fire up your slow cooker and make some Brodo.

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