Bone Broth is one of those foods that is currently being touted as the elixir of life in health magazines and hipster communities, with Brodo a new bone broth bar opening in New York, this is a food that is definitely on trend. In my imagination I can just see myself in a poncho and hipster wool bobble hat walking through one of the trendier areas of New York on a chilly afternoon with my cool to go Brodo cup of bone broth beverage…..but enough of the fantasy.
Making bone broth was one of the habits I fell into as soon as I started taking my own health seriously and one of the kitchen routines that I carry out religiously on a weekly basis.
Why do I mess about with left over chicken carcass and raw grass fed beef bones in the kitchen?
Bone broth contains trace amounts of a matrix of bioavailable minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and silicon, to promote strong bones, great teeth and healthy nails and hair. It contains the amino acids proline and lysine that are the building blocks for connective tissue and also collagen, which provides the framework for bone building and will plump tired and aging skin, bringing the youthful back!
Bone broth also contains the amino acid L-glutamine which actively helps the body to heal an inflamed digestive tract, helpful for those who experience Leaky Gut Syndrome and the random bloating, gassiness and allergy type symptoms that go with that label.
Bone broth supports the adrenal glands through dense nutrition, giving women who are feeling ‘exhausted-all-the-time’ the nutritional support to move from washed-out, survival- mode, to vibrant and thriving. It was issues with my own adrenals, which felt to me like a completely flat battery and tiredness no matter how many hours I slept, that turned me on to this savoury elixir. Yes ladies it is soups made with bone broth that will heal you where caffeine has failed!
Bone broth boosts immunity, speeding healing and recovery from colds and flu (chicken soup is well known as Jewish penicillin!) and the amino acid cysteine in bone broth helps to thin mucus so that it can be expelled more easily from the lungs.
Bone broth help to alleviate the symptoms of joint pain and arthritis, as the broth itself contains compounds such as chondroitin and glucosamine released from the cartilage and tendon attached to the bones that are simmered. Making your own bone broth is far cheaper than buying supplements for joint pain and the nutrition is better absorbed in this whole food form. I see it as insurance for future joint health and a necessary support to the crazy energetic Zumba classes I love so much.
The reason why I keep coming back to bone broth however is that there really is nothing as delicious as a bowl of salty, meaty, umami flavoured broth on a cold winters day and once I have decanted a mason jar of bone broth into my refrigerator I know I have the back bone of a really great soup or risotto on hand.
So what are the practicalities of making your own broth?
I make my broth in the slow cooker using the leftovers of a chicken or turkey dinner or organic grass fed beef or lamb bones that I buy quite reasonably from the farmers market. I often roast the bones for 20 minutes in a hot oven 400F if they not been roasted for a meal first. This brings out a greater depth of flavour. In the slow cooker they go with a large red onion that has been halved, 12-18 whole peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, a large carrot and a couple of sticks of celery if I have them in the refrigerator. I cover the bones with water and add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. the vinegar helps to dissolve the minerals out of the bones and does not change the taste of the broth. I have recently taken to adding dried red dates and Maitake mushroom to the brew but that is called being an overachiever! Stick with the regular recipe and throw in some parsley stalks with a flourish if you have some.
Next ,I leave all the hard work to be done overnight while I am sleeping and wake to a house smelling of Grandmothers chicken soup or roasted beef dinner. No time for faffing around with my families morning routine, I turn off the slow cooker and deal with the contents in the evening when they are cool. Placing colander inside a large soup pan or pot in the sink I pour the contents of the slow cooker through the colander to strain the broth.
I keep this liquid magic in glass mason jars in the refrigerator an pull it out to make healthful soups and kick ass risottos throughout the week.
This soup took only 10 minutes to make using a beef broth to which I added ginger, turmeric, star anise and shredded Brussel sprouts, mushrooms and carrot….Super healthy and tasted as if it was imbibed with the power to cure the common cold….recipe to Here.
And this Italian style soup provided something more substantial for a family supper….just like Nonna used to make……..recipe to Here…….
I hope that this post encourages you to get into the habit of making bone broth….though it takes time to simmer it is a super easy process and is sure to benefit your health if you do!
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