Bone broth is all the rage, as it should be. It’s full of collagen for beautiful skin and hair, healing nutrition for your gut and maybe even something like a special sparkly marrow for your soul. Bone broth is unparalleled in its restorative, comforting, deeply nourishing qualities. My mom (and hers before her) has always made her own and quite honestly, I have probably taken that for granted. It wasn’t until the dawn of my 30’s (when the prospect of drinking a yard bird’s bone liquids for the sake of youthful skin didn’t sound half bad) that I really began to value this golden life soup. I can no longer bring myself to buy ambiguous boxed cartons off the shelf. The gentle rumble of simmering broth on the stove is an ode to tradition; both in my family and perhaps a shared human kind experience alike. How many women before us (before the age of knowledge but rather in the age of knowing) have served bone broth to their families? Surely, as soon as there was an earthen vessel there was bone broth.
Nothing is more simple, more natural, more efficient or more quality-for-the-dollar for your health than bone broth. You could buy any cut of chicken (or any meat!) which includes the bones and either cut the meat from the bones to use other wise (such as grilling the meat cuts and saving the bones from a whole chicken) or you can put your entire bird in the pot and use the meat for a soup in that way. What’s more is that the best cuts of meat to create bone broth are often also the cheapest!
These are my favorite basic flavors to throw in an effortless pot of bone broth: garlic, carrots, onion, celery and *herbs and seasoning (whatever you have on hand: rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt & pepper… all of these are delicious together). NOTE *If you’re making a very large amount of broth with the intention of freezing it for various separate uses (because that’s a good idea and you’re a smart lady) you may not want to add all of the seasonings and herbs. You may want to use the vegetables and just some simple garlic, salt and pepper for seasoning. This way you can season more specifically when you create a dish with your broth- all options on the table! And don’t be cute with that salt shaker- pour it to it sister.
The other best part is this: you can throw the vegetables in just as they are! They’ll get strained out anyway so don’t worry with peeling or chopping or anything of the sort. Use the butts and ends with skins and all- it’s all so thrifty!
In a large pot, arrange your bird (cow, deer, whatever) and vegetables in a way that makes you really happy.
And turn it on low heat- just enough to bring it to a gentle baby simmer. Put the lid on. Your job is done for the next 12-24 hours. You have life under control.
(Obviously this is an ideal situation for a crock pot, but I have a deep affinity for my enameled cast iron dutch oven! If you don’t have one, check out THIS beauty!)
If you’re starting this early in the morning for dinner later, you can honestly be in business in about 8 hours. BUT, the longer and slower it simmers the more nutrition you’ll steep from those bones, and that my friend, that is the goal! I like to do this at night just before bed and rise in the morning to a lovely, savory aroma. I’ll let it simmer on through the day for a good, long 18 hour stew. You can check on it every now and then just to remember how rustic and culinary you are…
When the time has come, get out your handy dandy extra large stainless steel sieve (they make this job SO much easier!). Another essential item is an oversized bowl with a lid, so you can store your broth in the fridge and dip out of it as you wish throughout the week. Of course this is all very possible without these items, I did it with out them for many moons, but since I’ve purchased them I’ve often wondered what was I ever trying to prove?!
Set your sieve inside the large bowl and *slowly* pour the contents of your pot into the sieve. (And there’s no hurry here, Susan. Feel free to let that pot set until it’s cooled down. This is the South.)
You’ve don it. Liquid gold. Life soup. Bone broth.
This process becomes easier each time as you find your groove. You’ll learn the best time of day or night to start the process and schedule it to your advantage. The sequence becomes comforting. The flavors become art.
Ideas for your bone broth:
If you’re making soup, pour your broth back into the pot and add soup ingredients as is fitting.
OR let it cool and keep it in the fridge to dip out of through the week for simple mugs of soup: warm your mugful and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a crack of pepper and some fresh herbs
OR use it instead of water for pastas, rice, grits and almost anything else of the sort. This is a great way to get extra nutrition and protein into little ones! It also elevates the texture and taste of rice and pastas to something beautiful
OR freeze it in separate portions to use as you wish in the future! (It’s a good idea to label it according to the seasonings you’ve used so you know what you’re getting yourself into before you thaw and taste test!)
If there was meat on the bones you can use, either continue with making soup OR pick the meat and use it for something else like chicken salad or creamy enchiladas… you got this!
Love & Savory Sundays,