I can’t think of anything more soothing than a warm mug of homemade bone broth.
I made a batch this week in a big pot and left it simmering atop my wood heater for three days. It was divine and filled my house up with a homely scent of boney-goodness. One of my favourite things about winter!
Bone broth can be made from any type of animal bone. Chickens. Cows. Pigs. Fish. Rabbit. Whatever takes your fancy. The bones are left to simmer in water on the stove for 12 – 36 hours. It is extremely nutritious as it draws out all the minerals (particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium) from the bones, cartilages, marrow and vegetables added to the broth. The natural gelatin drawn from the animal remains also aids digestion and heals the gut lining, and has also been found to be beneficial in treating joint pain in particular, and also many other chronic disorders such as anaemia, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and cancer.
The good old wife’s tale of serving chicken soup to those who have fallen ill might not be such a tale after all. Hanna Kroeger, in Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen, says this about the calming effects of chicken soup:
“Why is chicken soup superior to all the things we have, even more relaxing than “Tylenol?” It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient [ie. bone broth] which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives. . . and parasites. Chicken soup … heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.”
So eat up your rich bone-broth concoction! Have it for breakfast, lunch or tea. Have it on its own, or chuck it in your soups, stews or casseroles. I sometimes like to heat it up in a pot with an egg or two, and then sprinkle it with sauerkraut and buckwheat before eating.
How to make bone-broth
This week I made beef bone broth. I had a stack of bones saved up in my freezer from my last order with Real Beef (I like to order a quarter cow, and get all the bones and goodies too. It’s cheaper this way, and the best part is I’m supporting Tassie farmers who organically raise and grass-feed their cows). I NEVER throw out the bones. EVER. The bones are the best part! I’m a little bit anal. There have been times after dinner at a friend’s or relative’s that I’ve sweetly asked to take their bones home. Weird, I know.
I don’t really ‘do’ measurements when I make my broth. I just chucked in a few big bones, as well as scraps of celery that I’d saved up in the freezer. I simply just chucked them in my pot and covered them with water.
But for those who like precise recipes, you won’t go wrong with this easy-peasy recipe:
3-4 beef bones* (enough to fill your pot)
Filtered water (enough to cover the bones)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
*Note: You can use any animal bones in place of the beef bones. Farm-raised, free-range animals give the best results as many caged/grain-fed animals will not produce stock that gels – and they contain less nutrients and potential carcinogens. Chicken feet are especially good as they are full of gelatin. Use animal remains that have already been roasted or boiled (i.e bones from a roast or a stew) as they will be more flavoursome. Or if using raw, chuck the bones in the oven on 180 degrees celsius for 20 or so minutes to roast up.
- Place bones in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 to 36 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavoursome it will be.
- About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
- Let the broth cool for an hour or so, and then strain the broth into a large bowl or pot.
- Pour the broth into jars or containers and store in your refrigerator or freezer. Broth stored in the fridge must be used within 5 days. Freezing in smaller portions is handy as you may only need a cup or so for a quick soup or to add to recipes such as casseroles, stir-frys, mashed veggies, curries, etc.