Liquid gold. That's what it is. Our great grandmother's knew it and wouldn't be without it, but somewhere along the way, old-fashioned broth fell out of everyday use, and stock cubes and packs of insipid factory-made stock took its' place. But now it's making a comeback! And so it should - bone broths are the natural way to beautifully flavour soups, stews, casseroles and sauces while imparting gut-healing goodness and easy to digest minerals.
You've probably heard about how good bone broth is for you. Traditional, slow cooked broth (or stock) contains many minerals in a form that the body can easily absorb. The gelatine in the broth protects and heals the lining of the digestive tract, and is very high in amino acids like glycine, which are anti-inflammatory and calming. You know how when you get a cold, you crave soup? There's a reason for that. Not only does it feel good on a sore throat, but it really does help you get well. This is one of our favourite recipes for when we're feeling a bit 'under the weather' - Coconut Chicken Lemon Soup. You can just feel it doing you good!
Do you make your own broths and stocks? I love to have a big pot of broth gently simmering on the stove. It becomes the base for so many meals. For example...
Breakfast: eggs poached in chicken broth, sometimes with some added veges,
or some leftover rice or noodles or avocado
Lunch: add in some veges and maybe some meat for a quick but very nourishing soup
Dinner: add some beef mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, veges and greens
to beef broth for an Asian-style meal, served with rice or mung bean vermicelli
If you've never made old-fashioned stock or broth before, it's time to get started, both for the health benefits and the amazing flavour that will add so much more to your meals! It's really simple. Here's how:For Chicken Broth:
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery sticks with leaves, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
For Beef Broth:
2kg beef bones - a mixture of marrow, knuckle and meat bones
3 litres filtered water, room temperature
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks with leaves, roughly chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together, or 1 tsp dried
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
For chicken broth:
Cut the chicken apart and remove most of the meat to use in other dishes, leaving a little bit of meat on the bones. The fat can be kept to use in the stock as it adds to the flavour and helps nutrients to be absorbed more easily. (I cut the meat into cubes or pieces and freeze in 300g lots. See recipe suggestions below for ways to use the meat.)
Place the meaty bones (and fat if using) into a large, heavy based pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker. If you are cooking up your own chickens, or have access to the 'whole' chickens, you can also add the chicken feet and head.
Cover bones with water, add other ingredients and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Strain the broth into a bowl, then pour into jars. Discard bones and vegetables, but include meat scraps in the broth if you like. (I always do.)
Store stock in the coolest part of the fridge for a few days, or separate into small containers and freeze. Once cold, the stock should become a ‘gel’, and there will be a layer of fat on top. This is good - it helps to preserve the stock.
When you're ready to use the stock, remove the fat and set aside, and scoop out a few tablespoons of stock to add to your meal. It is concentrated goodness, so you can add water to it for soups and stews. If you're taking it as a gut-healing 'medicine', just warm up half a cup of broth on the stovetop, add a little sea salt if you like, and sip like a cup of hot tea at least once a day! So so good for you.
The fat can be washed off with cold water then kept in the fridge to use for frying, as it is a stable fat and won't burn when heated. I use it for savoury cooking - eg. sautéing onions, frying vegetable fritters, etc.
Place the knuckle and marrow bones into a heavy-based pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker, cover with water, add vinegar and leave to stand for one hour. Meanwhile, roast meat bones in oven at 180° for 30 mins. Add to pot with other bones.
Strain and store as for chicken broth.
Note: If you feel like you need broth quickly and just don't have time for hours of cooking time, you can make the liquid stock recipe in my book 'Quirky Cooking' - it cooks in an hour. It's not going to have all the goodness of a slow-cooked stock, but it's a good start.
Recipes that are great for using the reserved meat from the chicken:
Coconut Lemon Chicken Soup
Chicken Pasta or Chicken Zoodle Soup
Creamy Chicken and Brown Rice Soup
Chicken and Cashews with Coconut Satay Sauce and Coconut Rice
Paprika Chicken with Creamy Paprika Sauce (an easy all-in-one Thermomix dinner)
Healthy Fried Chicken Strips & Salad
Brown Rice Mushroom Risotto with Macadamia Cheese