AKA stock to us Brits…
The real food community is alive with the buzz of bone broth right now. It really has come back into fashion; and for good reason. It’s full of both flavour and nutrients. It supports your gut health through it’s healing and anti-inflammatory properties, and since most of your immune system is located in your gut, it makes sense that chicken soup has been used to nourish the sick for generations.
Homemade bone broth or stock is rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals and anti-aging collagen. The amino acids support your arteries, heart health, and organs whilst also aiding digestion. Add to that the minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus all helping to keep your bones and teeth in great shape (essential if you have any growing children in the house) and you really can’t get enough.
Bone broth is one of the most nourishing and useful additions to your fridge or freezer that you can make, and it’s ridiculously easy. With a little forethought, you can always have the ingredients on hand to throw together a batch. It’s fantastic for adding flavour to dishes, which is great because stock cubes are full of additives you don’t want to eat.
I add a cup or two of broth to the cooking water for rice, use it to make curries, soups and stews and sometimes I add it to the roasting tray with a load of chopped potatoes, some garlic, onions, paprika, salt and pepper and a lug of extra virgin olive oil – delicious. It’s also nice as a warm drink, straight from the mug with a little sea salt.
A Handy Tip!
Use freezer bags to save up for when you make your stock (just remember to wash and reuse them, which is better for the planet and your pocket). Whenever you roast meat on the bone (usually chicken in our house) just throw the bones into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. I save a few egg shells the same way to add a bit of extra calcium, as well as the scrubbed peels and tops from carrots etc. You can also pre chop and freeze carrots and celery to save a bit of fridge space if you need to.
Ok so here’s how I make it. This is an adaptation (i.e. I read it once and now just throw it together) version of the recipe in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.
Note – using more bones makes for a more ‘congealed’ broth once it has cooled; this is a good sign since all that lovely collagen is great for strengthening your nails, skin and hair. You want to use good quality bones from healthy animals here since you want to extract all those lovely health boosting qualities. Use good quality, free range, slow grown chicken or grass-fed lamb or beef bones.
Bone Broth Recipe:
You’ll eventually get to know I’m not really about exact measurements, and they’re really not necessary here. This recipe uses chicken but you can use roasted lamb or beef bones or a combination if that’s what you have.
Ingredients (all approximate – feel free to add a little more or less):
- 3-4 good sized carrots, scrubbed and chopped into a few large chunks,
- 4 stalks of celery, washed and chopped into thirds. Don’t bother removing the leaves,
- 1 large onion, quartered. Peeling optional.
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. The more bones you use, the more vinegar you add. Since it’ll be cooked I don’t worry about using raw apple cider vinegar,
- Bones and carcass from 1 – 2 roasted whole chickens. Or somewhere in between. I find one whole chicken plus extra bones from midweek chicken dinners works well since I only roast a whole chicken once a week,
- Enough water to cover the bones,
- Extra chicken feet if you can get them (optional),
- Neck and giblets, excluding the liver (optional),
- A shaking of whole peppercorns (optional),
- A few egg shells (optional),
- A couple of bay leaves (optional).
- Put the vinegar and all of the bones into a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover the bones and leave to sit for about 45 minutes. The vinegar will encourage the minerals to leach out of the bones into the water.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
- Once it’s boiling, immediately turn the hob down to the lowest temperature and leave to simmer for 12-24 hours. Chicken bones closer to 12hrs, beef or lamb up to 24. Check it after a few hours and if you have a frothy/foamy layer on the top, remove this with a spoon and discard. When it’s done you should be able to crush the bones between your thumb and forefinger.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to handle the bones.
- Strain the broth through a sieve into a large glass bowl. Throw the bones in the bin and sieve well to get all the lovely juice out of the veg, and to save your bin from leaking.
- Discard the pulp.
- Decant your broth into glass containers. I just reuse the large glass jars from the olives we buy. If you’re storing your stock in the fridge then you can fill the jars up, however if you’re putting it into the freezer leave a couple of inches free at the top to allow for expansion so that the jar doesn’t break. This recipe gets me two to three jars full, so I put one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.
And that’s it!
The stock will keep for about a week in the fridge. As it cools a thin layer of fat will rise to the top. You can either just throw that in with the rest of your broth when you use it, or skim the fat and use it to soften onions etc in your cooking.
How do you use your broth?