The long, cold days of wintertime are here, and our natural cravings are for warm stews, soups, teas, etc... This time of year I stock up on broth because I know I will be using it at least once weekly.
Sooo easy to make, broth is pretty much an "add stuff to the pot and leave it there for hours"... kind of cooking (my favorite!). The great thing is, when it is done, you have stock for weeks! as one batch can make a LOT of broth.
Have you heard the newest hype about bone broth being so good for you? There are even "pop up shops" in NYC where you can get a bone broth cup to go (a la Starbucks)! But this is not just a "fad", bone broth has been known to have health benefits for years and generations (chicken soup for the common cold?).
We were wise once... everybody ate broth, soups, and stews in the winter, and that's not only because they are warming, but because of its impact on how our body digests the other parts of our meals. Modern American diets tend to have an imbalanced amino acid intake. The reliance on "muscle meats" almost exclusively, instead of engaging in “nose-to-tail” eating of the animals like we should, results in an overabundance of some amino acids and very little of others. This imbalance appears to have significant consequences for our health.
The amino acid structure and high gelatin content of bone broth makes it soothing and healing for the gut and enhances the absorption of nutrients from other foods as well.The amino acids present in bone broth, namely collagen, glycine, and proline, are said to be good for heart health, joints, skin, hair and nails, as well as gut and immune health.
Here is my favorite recipe for bone broth that I've used over and over again... and yes, this recipe works for either chicken or beef broth.
Starry Nights Bone Broth Elixir
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes at 400 (this is certainly not necessary).
Then, place the bones in a large stock pot. Pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
Rough chop and add the vegetables (except the garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, skim off any scum, a frothy/foamy layer that rises to the surface, and throw it away. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer until done. For beef broth/stock: 48 hours; Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours.
During the last 30 minutes, add garlic and fresh parsley, if using.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
* Collect ends of onions, celery, carrots, leeks, even broccoli stems when cooking your other meals. Freeze these in a ziploc bag and keep adding these veggie spares. In a couple of weeks you may have enough vegetables for your next bone broth recipe!
** Also keep the carcass from a roasted chicken and freeze it in a large ziploc for when you are ready to make broth. I usually use about 2 pounds of bones per gallon of water I’m using to make broth. This usually works out to 2-3 full chicken carcasses.
*** You don't have to have exactly these ingredients or herbs. Get creative and add what you like in flavor. ANY spices or herbs are acceptable, as well as any vegetables.
Marisa usually writes about nutrition, grass fed beef, organic agriculture, as well as sharing delicious recipes; Paul writes about farm work- sharing his stories and experiences, and sometimes... we both collaborate on a story!