Years ago I was introduced to the idea of homemade bone broth, aka chicken/beef/vegetable broth or “stock”, as a health food by the Weston A. Price Foundation. Previously, I had thought if it as more of a luxury, something that people with a lot of time on their hands did to make the task of cooking harder and more tedious. I mean, I could get a can of it for a buck, or better yet, a few squares of bouillon cubes that would last me a lifetime. It tasted good enough, so why bother?
Ever a spendthrift, when I had the bones of a leftover rotisserie chicken in front of me, I decided to throw it in the slow cooker with some water, a bay leaf, and a tablespoon full of apple cider vinegar (because the Weston A. Price Foundation said that helped leach the vitamins and minerals out of the bones), and see what happened.
I left for a few hours, and came home to the most beautiful smell wafting down the stairs. Truly, it was like coming home to chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, only with a savory note that made me salivate. Never had those brown putrefying cubes (that had been sitting in my cupboard for the past ten years) smelled anything like this!
I tasted the broth and it truly tasted like dirty dish water. Agh! What could be wrong? I wanted it to taste like it smelled. Harking back to my days in restaurant kitchens, I remembered the huge vat of bubbling compost (i.e broth/stock) in the very first kitchen I’d started in, washing dishes and learning the ways of a small restaurant kitchen. All of the vegetable peels and bones had gone into a huge cauldron, bubbling and spitting for hours and hours, sometimes for days. I remember the head cook telling me not to salt the broth, to let the flavors mingle, and that she’d salt it when she made the final soup.
Since I had leftover chicken from the rotisserie chicken, I made chicken noodle soup. As I salted and tasted, salted and tasted, the flavors started to develop, ending with a final HAAAALLELUJAH! that turned me into a broth believer. This was like no other chicken noodle soup I’d ever had. Not only rich in flavor, but with a depth that can only be tasted, not described.
Over the years I’ve learned to save vegetable peelings, mushroom stems, onion peels and more in a freezer bag in the freezer. When soup starts calling I can roast a couple of beef bones, or use the skin and bones from a rotisserie chicken, add the veggies and make my Easy Homemade Bone Broth.
Pointers to make the best tasting and healthiest broth/stock:
Do NOT use cruciferous vegetables in your stock. They will make the broth bitter.
For the best flavor, roast bones (you can do this even with previously cooked bones, although I usually don’t) prior to using them in broth. Roasting the bones makes for a rich and truly beautiful flavor profile.
Do NOT skim off the fat. Fat is flavor, fat keeps us full, fat does NOT make us fat!
You are what you eat! Use bones from a grass fed, pastured animal if at all possible.
Because the peelings of the veggies are being used, organic is best to reduce any pesticide load.
If your broth gels, that’s a GOOD thing! Gelatin is excellent for OUR bones, cartilage, nails, hear, etc. If your broth does not gel, feel free to sprinkle in some gelatin. I use this brand.
Thyme, rosemary, and/or Herbes de Provence make THE best broth.
Salt until it tastes good, typically after it’s been used in a dish, or if being used in a soup that has clear broth, after other ingredients are added. If it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t have enough salt.
Watch my video (below)to see just how easy it is to make Homemade Bone Broth as well as descriptions and explanations as to why I use certain ingredients to up the nutritional profile:
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Easy Homemade Bone Broth
Homemade bone both is a cinch to make in the slow cooker. Full of flavor, nutrients and love!
Recipe type: soup
Roasted beef bones, ham shanks, chicken bones or bones, skin, and juices of rotisserie chicken
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar*
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 sprig thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 sprig rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
assorted vegetable peelings, onion skins, leek tops, mushroom stems
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker (aka Crock Pot), bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 12-24 hours.
Pour broth through a sieve (may line with cheesecloth if you'd like a very pure broth).
Discard everything but broth.
Store in quart jars in the fridge for up to one week, or for longer term storage, pour into pint size jars, leaving one inch space at the top and freeze.
* No need to spend the extra money on raw apple cider vinegar as it's going to get thoroughly cooked anyway. ** I use coriander seeds in the video, however to keep life simple and inexpensive I recommend looking to see what you've already got in your spice cabinet. Smell various herbs and spices and toss in the smells that go together.