Bone broth is umami fifth flavour savoury good times, and good for you too. It’s full of protein and minerals and collagen and glutamate, giving it that gimme-some-more flavour. I like to add miso for a quick cell-nourishing snack. I also cook our rice in bone broth (1 cup rice, 2 cups broth, slow simmer till absorbed) and sneak it into my child, who unfortunately has stopped eating my soups, now that she has opinions of her own (who told her she could get some of those?) It’s great for growing bones and joints and gut linings, and makes me feel like a proper cook, mother, and keeper of the DNA. Bone broth has also given me a real appreciation for the full nutrition available from the animals we eat, and has aided my conversion to eating organic meat at home. Cooking meat on the bone gives added nourishment to the meat as well.
Plus, it’s too easy to make.
First, get your bones – I am a bone broth lightweight I have to admit, and usually just roast a chook, adding a couple of lamb chop bones to boost the flavour. I keep the bones in the freezer till I am ready to do a batch. Beef bones with heaps of marrow are super nourishing as are chicken heads and feet, fish heads and all the gory bits. A friend of mine is learning to process their old gamey roosters with all the joys of plucking and gutting, and I say good for her – I still feel all right about my suburban version.
Apart from the bones, you just need some vinegar (I use apple cider) which apparently does some chemical reaction magic and helps ease the goodness out of the bones.
And some bits and bobs of veges for a bit of extra flavour and nutrition – leeks, onions and carrots are good (no stinky cabbage or broccoli though, they do not make a good brew). I have got into the habit of keeping a small bowl of carrot ends in the freezer rather than composting them, and it’s amazing how they add up.
Pop it all in the pot, top up with water (ideally filtered), and simmer for about 12 hours. Longer is good, especially for beef bones. I start it off cold and put it on low on the backburner. Like the vinegar, a slow simmer is supposed to be good for releasing more of the nutrition. I am not too fussy with the timing, I often put it on for a few hours, then switch it off to go out, put it on again when I am back, sometimes over a day or two. Don’t let the broth cramp your style. I would feel ok leaving it on low overnight with plenty of water, but my man is the son of a fireman, so I am not allowed to do that at my house.
You know your broth by its jelliness when cold – the thicker the better. Once cool, you can pop in the fridge (keeps for about 4-5 days) or freezer (keeps for ages) – I find it goes pretty fast in our house now that we are in the rice and miso routine. It took a while to integrate it into my normal cooking routine, but once you start choosing meat on the bone as a preference, it just becomes the thing to do.
A roast chook, bits of carrot ends saved in the freezer, a leek, a couple of sloshes of vinegar – just add water and simmer for a while. Quite a while.