A good broth makes everything better.
The kitchen greats have often touted it as the secret to a truly great soup or stew (or dal), but it’s not just your cooking that’ll be improved and elevated by bone broth. The product of a long, slow simmer, you’ll find delicious and rich flavours in this homemade broth, but you’ll also find a whole host of soothing and restorative properties that’ll last long after you’ve licked your bowl clean.
This isn’t plain old stock given a hipster makeover, it is important to note. And no, that dehydrated cube of Knorr’s will not yield you any of the same flavour or benefits. This stuff is meaty and hot, and the slow cooking time yields a rich liquid that’s crammed full of easily-digestible protein and gelatin, minerals, and skin-boosting collagen. Drink it plain, by the mugful, or dress it up with rice noodles, ginger, chilli, and a squeeze of lime.
Flavour aside, bone broth is one of the most important foods for good gut health thanks to its gelatin content; gelatin is hydrophilic colloid, which means that it draws and holds liquids (including your digestive juices), which in turn helps with proper digestion. Most healing traditions hold that the gut is the seat of good health, and that proper vitality and wellness comes from a strong, well-functioning digestive system.
This golden liquid has abundant benefits, including easy-to-absorb minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur), super healing amino acids (proline, glycine and glutamine), loads of collagen, and an incredible ability to boost immunity and digestion while promoting probiotic growth. Expect relief from chronic allergies, clearer skin, faster-growing hair and nails, more energy, more flexible joints… magic, basically.
There’s a basic recipe below, but you can tweak as desired to make it super-healing (things like fresh ginger, raw turmeric, seaweed, miso) or super flavourful (more vegetable scraps, Sichuan peppercorns, dried mushrooms, fish sauce, or taking the time to roast the bones before simmering).
You will need
- 2 kilos of mixed chicken, mutton or beef bones (organic, and feel free to use heads, feet, marrow)
- 2 carrots, 2 onions, celery or leeks (tweak to suit your own taste)
- 1 head of garlic (peeled, obvs)
- A splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1 litre filtered water
- Sea salt, peppercorns, a bay leaf
Optional: Roast the bones before beginning. Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and drizzle the bones with olive oil before placing in a roasting pan. Roast until evenly browned, which should take 30-35 minutes (they don’t need to cook, just develop some colour). If there are a lot of little glazed bits left on the pan, transfer the bones to the pot you’ll be simmering the broth in and then deglaze the pan on the stovetop with a little water so you don’t lose that additional flavour.
1. Put all the ingredients in a large stock pot and leave out at room temperature for an hour so the minerals can start to leech from the bones.
2. Place the pot over the burner on medium heat to create a low simmer, just barely bubbling.
3. It is recommended you keep it at this temperature for at least 12 hours (some people go to 72!), but if you’re worried about the gas and the fire hazard (legitimate concerns, both), make it in a pressure cooker, which should only take about two or three hours. For the most part, don’t go by the clock, just go by your nose, your tastebuds, and your common sense. When it’s done it will be savoury, delicious and a dark mahogany colour. The bones will eventually start to crumble if you simmer it long enough,
4. Strain out the bones and bits, and decant into glass storage containers to use or freeze for later.