Broths are used in many recipes we feature, and while I’m familiar with making a traditional broth from veggies, I’ve never tackled a bone broth. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately; I know of the many health benefits, and I noticed recently that the local Central Market here in Austin is selling bone parts to use in broths. And though I know how healthy it is, I have to admit, I was a bit turned off by the idea of tackling it from the bone angle. I guess I’m one of those meat eaters who would rather not think about where the meat came from.
Yet, when I heard Bobby Flay teaching Savannah Guthrie how to make a homemade bone broth on the Today Show, I figured it’s time to get it done already. Hey, if Savannah, who openly jokes about only cooking things which come in a container that needs to be opened can do it, then I can certainly handle it!
Here are a few reasons to add bone broth to your diet.
Is Mineral Rich. Fortifies the immune system. Enhances digestion. Nourishes all body parts related to collagen (joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, mucus membranes, and bone).
Chinese medicine practitioners use bone broth to strengthen the kidney, support digestive systems and build blood. Bone broth feeds the body with collagen, which is the building block of cells to bones, ligaments, cartilage and the brain. Bone broth is excellent for people with food sensitivities and gastrointestinal disorders because it’s safe and tolerable for the body, and packs a powerful nutrient punch.
Simply put, bone broth is homemade stock made from animal bones. You can use whole turkey, chicken or fish carcasses or parts of lamb, pig, venison – or any other animal of your choosing. The point is to simmer the bones (typically from one animal) in water for hours or days. The longer you cook it, the more nutritious it gets.
So what kind of bone should you use?
Any kind will do, just make sure that all bones are sourced from animals that are organic and grass-fed or pastured and free-range. Remember, everything that the animal ate, how it lived, and where it lived all factor into the health benefits of your broth.
You can purchase bones ready to cook, or you can collect bones from meals and store them in your freezer until you have enough to build a good stock. Remember to only use bones from animals that are grass-fed or free-range. Also, make sure the bones, especially large bones, are cut into small pieces. This reduces cooking time and allows more material to become a part of the broth.
How to: Cook Bone Broth
1. Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
2. Add two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or wine to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
3. Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
4. Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least 6 hours. Remove scum as it arises.
5. Cook long and slow. Chicken bones can cook for 6-48 hours, and beef bones can cook for 12-72 hours. A long and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around bone.
After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top which protects the broth beneath. Discard this layer only when you are about to eat the broth.
Here’s Bobby Flay’s version.
You can check out Bobby Flay’s recipe from the Today Show and the video where he tries to teach Savannah how to make a basic bone broth, though they never quite get to that point in the segment. It’s still a cute video to watch for those of us who are equally as challenged in the kitchen as Savannah.
Enjoy your broth with any number of recipes that we feature on this site, or sip it on it’s own. The benefits of bone broth are many and varied!
- 3 lb chicken
- 3 lbs chicken bones (carcasses)
- 1 large Spanish onion (with skin left on), halved
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- Small bunch italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- Use enough cold water to cover chicken by 2-inches in a large stock pot.
- Combine all, bring to a boil, reduce to a low and simmer for 3 hours, skimming the surface occasionally.
- Strain though a chinois lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl.
- Let cool to room temperature — cover and refrigerate.
- When chilled, fat rises to top — remove this fat layer. Or, buy a grease separator and skip that step.
- Put the stock into a large saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce slightly to intensify the flavor.
Tips: Discard all solids. Do NOT allow the stock to boil, only simmer or it will become cloudy. Never salt a stock — it is a base for other recipes — add salt when you use it in other recipes Skim the scum that rises from the chicken with a small ladle every 30 minutes or so to keep the stock as clear as possible. Using a combination of bones and whole chicken will give a rich flavor and great body. The meat will add flavor and the bones will add gelatin to give the stock body.