Bone Broth for the Soul
After a long month of glutinous eating (truffles, cheese, and cookies, oh my), it is time to detox a little. Nothing speaks to the soul more on a cold, dreary winter's day than a bowl of homemade chicken soup, and that is exactly what we are going to prepare from our bone broth. Understanding the health benefits of drinking bone broth is equally as satisfying. You can make bone broth from just about any animal - chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and fish, to name a few. We enjoyed a broth from the leftover bones of a short rib meal last week and added bone marrow to it to create even more flavor. If you are not a fan of breaking apart the bones (much like myself - I am fortunate that my husband does it for me), then you can always ask your butcher to break the animal parts down for you.
Not only can your bone broth act as a base in your gravies, soups, and sauces, but you can simply drink it as a warm beverage. I quite like to have a mug full of it for breakfast in the morning, and sometimes I will even add a poached egg and some sliced avocado to it. I discovered the health benefits of bone broth a few years ago when I was experiencing digestive issues. I couldn't quite put my finger on why my body was rejecting certain foods, so was determined to find a solution. I eliminated gluten, caffeine, and alcohol, temporarily, from my diet. I started taking probiotics, as well as a number of vitamins and supplements. After researching the many benefits of bone broth, I initially bought a powder form of grass-fed animal proteins that could be added to my hot beverages. Ultimately, after fighting with the sticky substance on my spoon and finding the occasional glob of gelatin-like substance in my mouth, I was determined to go the old-fashioned route of making it myself.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your hair is thinning, or why your nails are splitting so often? When I look back on the days prior to drinking bone broth, I had both issues, not to mention, 'gut' issues. Not only does this delicious drink provide calcium, magnesium, potassium, and minerals from the animal bones, but the connective tissues help to support joint health. It also contains glycine which is proven to help support healthy sleep. If using marrow in your broth, it will additionally provide Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, Zinc, Iron, Boron, Maganese & Selenium, as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. If you have ever suffered from migraines and tried taking magnesium in supplement form, you likely found them to be tough on your stomach. Drinking bone broth is an amazing alternative. It is no wonder that many refer to bone broth as 'liquid gold'. I guarantee that drinking it will change your life.
As mentioned already above, you can prepare a bone broth by breaking down just about any animal. The version that we are going to share with you is that of a chicken broth. Now, this is the one time you do not want to rid of the carcass, the neck, the liver, and even the feet and the gizzard if your animal comes with these. (I know, I know). For those of you who are interested, I'd be happy to share and elaborate on how we prepared the bone broth from the bones of the short rib and the marrow at another time.
Quite often, we will purchase as many as four whole chickens at a time, in order to prepare a large vat of broth. We then freeze multiple containers of the broth, which is handy for both lunches in a pinch (add a piece of salmon to the broth, or noodles for the kids), and using for a base, in gravies or soups, and sauces. We have based the recipe below on using one whole chicken, for those of you who feel less adventurous, especially on your first try!
If you are going to prepare your bone broth as a base for a chicken soup, as we will be doing, we prefer to roast our chicken breast and legs with seasonings and spices for flavor, rather than poaching it in the broth. Furthermore, as mentioned above, we enjoy adding sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime, and a poached egg to our final product, in order to create a heartier meal. My children choose to either add either quinoa or noodles to their bowls. Of course, all of the below ingredients are optional, so go ahead and select them according to your own dietary preferences.
Chicken Bone Broth
1 Whole Organic Chicken
2 White Onions
1/2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
2 Bay Leaves
3 Cardamom Seeds
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Tsp. Coriander Seeds
3 Star Anis
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Ginger
1 Lemon Grass Stalk
2 Large White Onions
4 Large Carrots
1 Celery Stalk
1 Head of Fresh Ginger
1 Jalepeño (*optional)
All the parts of the chicken including the carcass, the neck, the skin, the liver, and whatever other connective tissues you may have been given.
Lime or Lemon
Sea Salt & Pepper
Equipment & Utensils
Large Stock Pot
Thoroughly wash all of your vegetables. Peel the carrots, ginger, and onions. Cut the onions into halves. Chop the rest of all the vegetables and put them aside.
Prior to chopping the chicken bones, break apart the chicken. Using your cleaver for ease, chop the bones into one-inch pieces. Reserve the legs and the breasts and put them into the fridge until you are ready to poach (or roast, as we prefer) them. *If you are not comfortable breaking apart and chopping the bones as we are, you can ask your butcher to do this tedious (and messy) job for you!
3. Over high heat, place the halved onions, face down, in a non-stick sautè pan. Cook them until they become very dark in color. *This is the one time it is okay to almost burn them.
4. On low heat, add 1tbsp. of avocado oil to the stock pan. Add the spices to the pan and heat them until all are toasted.
5. Next, we are going to deglaze the spices by pouring the apple cider vinegar over the top of them. *The vinegar here assists in breaking down the collagen later, making it more abundant in the broth.
6. Immediately following the vinegar, you can now add the bones, the vegetables, and all parts of the chicken, including the connective tissue, the skin, etc., to the pot.
7. Fill the stockpot with water until all the ingredients are covered, plus an additional inch. *You may choose to use half water and half chicken broth, depending upon how intense you'd like the chicken flavor. (We recommend using either Costco's or Whole Foods' 365 brand organic chicken broth if you are going this route).
8. Simmer the broth over low heat for 8 - 12 hours in order to achieve maximum flavor. The longer the broth simmers, the more infused the liquid will become, and the greater the health benefits.
*At a minimum, you may simmer the broth for up to 4 hours.
9. Periodically, skim the top layer of the broth with a skimmer to remove both the fat residue and other impurities. (We like to use a mesh skimmer).
10. After the simmering is complete, strain the broth through a colander. We suggest straining it a second time using a cheesecloth.
11. Reserve the now strained broth in the fridge and/or freezer for re-heating when you'd like. *We suggest adding seasoning to your broth according to your preference. A squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, a pinch of sea salt, and even some fresh ginger shavings are all the ways we prefer to season our broth. A dusting of Parmesan is also delightful.
12. If you are preparing a bone broth for chicken soup, you can do one of a few things. You can poach your chicken straight into the broth for the latter twenty minutes of your simmering, or you can season it and roast it in the oven, as we did.
We'd love to see all the ways you prepare and season your bone broth. Send us photos for inspiration! Until then, happy cooking.
The bowls used for plating the bone broth and the chicken are made of flint glass and produced by Mosser Glass, Co. in Cambridge, Ohio. They are featured in the milk-white color. We have a handful of their milk glass items in our online shop. The bowls also come in jadeite, crown tuscan (pink), and grey, to name a few.
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