Why Bone Broth?

We’re coming on cold and flu season so I’ve done a round up of all my bone broth recipes from easy to stupid-easy, as well as a rundown of the many health benefits that can be found in Bone Broth!

So, what if I told you there was a delicious food that you could make inexpensively and easily that would help you and your family:

  • stay healthy and fight infections
  • enhance digestion
  • soothe your gut
  • support your bones, skin and nails
  • reduce wrinkles and cellulite
  • ease those achy joints
  • give you extra vitamins and minerals

All of this and could save you money at the same time? You’d be all over it right? Well the answer my friends, is BONE BROTH and in this post I share all of the health benefits as well as THREE easy recipes:

  1. Easy-Peasy Foundational Bone Broth
  2. Stupid-Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Bone Broth Baby!
  3. Comfort Food Noodle-less Chicken Soup (my fave)
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH BONE BROTH

Bone Broth is a traditional food that is highly nourishing with many healing properties. Don’t get creeped out by its name. It is essentially the same as “stock”, beef, chicken or fish, which you’ve probably heard of, however bone broth is simmered for a bit longer than stock, to really draw all the good stuff (vitamins, minerals and nutrients) from the bones themselves. You’ve probably cooked with store bought stock/broth or enjoyed a delicious bowl of soup from a restaurant that was based on a stock (hopefully homemade in the kitchen!) Making homemade bone broth is extremely simple yet very satisfying on many levels! First, it’s darn inexpensive to do. Second, you know what you’re getting. No hidden chemicals, preservatives or that dreaded MSG, all of which can be found in store bought products. Thirdly, the health benefits!!! Come on now, who wouldn’t want these benefits at your fingertips:

  • Fights off infections and boosts immunity:  First off, immune properties from drinking bone broth on a regular basis can keep you from getting sick to begin with. But did you ever wonder why chicken soup is good when you’re sick? Well, there really is something to that! A study published in the journal Chest  suggests chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity as well as a mild anti-inflammatory effect, resulting in the reduction of upper respiratory tract infection symptoms ad accelerated mucosal clearance. Plus, when you’re sick, a warm cup of broth is often one of the few things sounds good to eat. Helps with hydration too!
  • Heals leaky gut: The gelatin in bone broth repairs and supports a healthy mucosal lining (the lining of our digestive track) as well as aids in the digestion of nutrients.
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation: How many of you take a glucosamine supplement for your achy joints? Why not get that naturally? Bone broth contains all nutrients and minerals found in bones and tendons. Glucosamine is present in bone broth which can help reduce inflammation and pain, repair damaged joints and even stimulate the growth of new collagen. Bone broth is also high in amino acids glycine and proline, amino acids that also have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Gives you your hair and nails a boost:  the collagen and gelatin in the bone broth supports the growth of strong hair and nails.
  • Supports healthy bones and even teeth: minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all important in bone formation, growth, and repair are found in bone broth and can help remineralize teeth as well.  For those that are concerned with getting enough calcium on a Paleo diet, here a great way to supplement these minerals naturally!
  • Reduces wrinkles and cellulite: Collagen fillers at the spa? Let’s save money, time and needles (eek!) and do that from the inside out! Yes, indeed, once again, that collagen is hard at work helping to rebuild, improve and possibly smooth connective tissue. When our connective tissues, which are made up of collagen, become damaged or weak, cellulite can occur. Adding collagen back into our diet helps support the structure of our cells and can minimize the appearance of cellulite.
  • Promotes sleep and calms the mind.  The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming.
  • Saves you money: making bone broth is cheap and easy. You’ll be saving money on buying store bought broth as well as supplements you no longer need, neither of which we can ever be 100% sure of what is in them. Hidden, and sometimes not hidden, chemicals and preservatives can be present in both. When you make your own broth you know exactly what’s been added and what you’re getting.
  • Ways to enjoy your bone broth
    • Sip it on its own in a cozy mug.
    • Cook your veggies in it.
    • Cook your rice
    • Use it in place of water or store bought broth/stock when called for in recipes and for everyday cooking.
    • Use it for a base for any other soup/stew.One of my favorites is to add chicken, onion, greens (think spinach and arugula) and mushrooms with your favorite hot sauce. It’s like Pho minus the noodles, delicious!
    • Another favorite is Comfort Food Noodle-less Chicken Soup. (see recipe below)
  • On board but don’t want to prepare it yourself? I strongly recommend The Flavor Chef’s Bone Broth shipped right to your door! Chicken, Beef, Coconut-Ginger (my fave!) He even has an AIP option. You can order yours here!

RECIPES

1. EASY-PEASY FOUNDATIONAL BONE BROTH

This is the traditional Bone Broth recipe. It’s very simple. If you want something even more basic please see the next recipe!

I start with around 3 pounds of grass fed/organic marrow bones. Beef marrow bones are usually in the freezer section of Whole Foods or Sprouts. You could ask any local butcher too. When I do chicken broth I usually use the carcasses, (two) from a prior roasted or rotisserie chicken that I’ve stored in my freezer. Quality is particularly important here. Remember, if you’re seeking good nutrients that come from an animal’s bones/marrow, you want that animal to have been raised well and healthy. Avoid commercial meat that has been treated with steroids or hormones as those would come out in the broth, and you don’t want to be consuming that! They may be a little more expensive but particularly for something like this, it is very worth it for you and your family!

There are many different options for types of bones to use. Some may sound pretty unappealing; feet, necks, backs, knuckle, oxtails (eek!) but these are often the source of extra gelatin so a great addition if you can find them! Chicken feet are dirt cheap, you can get around a dozen for around $2, so I always toss in a couple to each batch. Often times with my bones I just get what’s on sale, even if I’m not ready to make a batch if I see great marrow bones at a decent price I always pick them up for later use.

The amounts listed are fairly “loose” Depending on what you have available and what you determine your preferences to be, you can increase or decrease any of the ingredients to your liking. The veggies add flavor and nutrient value but are not necessary to make a broth. Additionally, if I have any other veggies that need to be used up, I often toss them in.

Enjoy this healing and highly nourishing broth you’ve just made…yourself! From scratch! You rock!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 lbs. marrow bones or chicken carcass. If using raw beef bones, you have the option to roast them for enhanced flavor (roast for 30 minutes at 350) 
  • 2-4 chicken feet (optional; this will l bump up your gelatin content big time!)
  • Appx. 4 quarts filtered water (enough to cover your bones in your pot) A general rule of thumb would be 4 quarts or 1 gallon to every 2 pounds of bones).
  • 2-3 large organic carrots coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 organic celery stalks coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp peppercorns (or regular pepper) to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Thyme
  • 1 bunch Parsley coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic chopped

Equipment:

  1. Large stock pot or slow-cooker
  2. Strainer
  3. Glass jars for storage, I use jars like these.


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place your bones in your stock pot or crock pot and cover with filtered water and vinegar. Let the bones sit for about 30 minutes, giving the vinegar time to start working on the bones. The vinegar works to draw out minerals. 
  2. Add your chopped vegetables, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. After about 30 mins, reduce to a simmer. If you are using a crockpot, you may not ever get your broth to come to a full boil, that’s ok, I just keep it on high for about an hour then turn down to low for the remaining time.
  4. The longer the simmer the better, but just do what you have time for.
  5. I recommend:  48 hours for beef broth 24 hours for chicken broth 8 hours for fish stock/broth (but I haven’t tried that one yet!)
  6. You may notice froth or some debris floating to the surface after a couple hours. This is totally normal and differs from batch to batch. I skim it off with a spoon and toss it.
  7. During the last 30 minutes add your garlic and herbs if using.
  8. When your broth is complete, turn off your pot and let it cool enough to handle. Pour your broth through a strainer and into a collecting pot. Toss or compost the veggies and bones. You can use your beef bones for a second batch, so after the dogs each get one (big treat!) I sometimes freeze them for later use, particularly if they look like they’ve got some life left in them!
  9. Store your broth in glass containers, leaving at least 1 inch of room at the top. Wait until cooled to room temperature and place in your freezer. I keep at least one jar at all times ready to go in the fridge, the rest I store in my freezer. Broth is good for up to a year in a deep freezer!

2. STUPID EASY SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN & BONE BROTH BABY

I love having chicken on hand for a wide variety of uses. While it’s easy to just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, many of those added ingredients are less than optimal, and some you never really know are there! In efforts to avoid all things gluten, canola, MSG, added sugars and that ever suspicious “natural flavorings” I opt to just make my own chicken at home from an organic chicken. This way I know what I’m getting and the only added ingredients and “natural flavors” are the ones I’ve added myself! And, this is a great opportunity to ease yourself into making bone broth! While the mother of all bone broth recipes can be found above, sometimes you just need something quick and easy. Check it out, enjoy, and repeat often!

So easy, a caveman could do it…if he had a slow cooker, oh, and electricity. Anyway, my point is that’s pretty much all you need!

I source my organic frozen chickens from Butcher Box but you can find them reasonably at Costco, Sprouts, etc. I set it in the slow cooker in the morning and by dinner time we have a fall-off-the-bone tender chicken. This is great for a quick snack on the go, part of your post-workout fuel, or to toss in salads, soups or other dishes as a fast, quality protein source. 24 hours more later you have a delicious, healthy bone broth for soups, stews, cooking or even sipping on! Review of the many benefits of bone broth at the top of this post!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 chicken (organic) thawed, remove any giblets from interior cavity
  • filtered water (for broth)
  • salt & pepper (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Salt and pepper your thawed chicken and place it in your slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Yes, that is all! You can ensure your chicken is done by checking that the internal temp is 165 degrees, but when you see that deliciousness falling right off the bone after 8 hours you can bet it’s done.
  2. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, allow to cool until able to handle, then remove all the chicken from the carcass and store in container in the fridge until ready to use/eat. Replace the chicken carcass and all the bones back in the slow cooker and cover with filtered water (about an inch from the top) Simmer on low for another 24 hours and you have an organic chicken stock (bone broth baby!) to cook with, freeze or use as a soup base. After 24 hours strain the broth with a strainer and then pour your broth into mason jars, leaving about an inch of room at the top. Allow to cool a bit prior to storing in fridge or freezer. Discard the bones. This is a basic bone broth, you can always season it more during simmering and add veggies for increased mineral content, nutrition and flavor! For more on this please see The Easy Peasy Foundational Bone Broth recipe above.

RECIPE NOTES

  • Organ meats are incredibly nutrient dense and should be consumed at least weekly if possible. I set the giblets right next to the chicken in the slow cooker and cook them right along side the chicken for a nutrient boost to my broth!
  • You can find the strainer and mason jars.

3. COMFORT FOOD NOODLE-LESS CHICKEN SOUP

This is my favorite thing to do with my bone broth. Delicious and beyond nutritious; full of vitamins, minerals and all the nourishing benefits of bone broth.

Since I prefer to cook once and twice (or in this case, many times), this would be considered a double recipe, making an extra-large batch. Feel free to pare down based on your ingredient availability and freezer storage space. I particularly like to always have a jar or two of this in my freezer for when someone gets sick, when I don’t feel like cooking or just when nothing else sounds good. My boys gobble this stuff up and my heart sings!

If you want to make it more fun for the littles, try spiralizing some veggies to make your “noodles.” I love doing zucchini noodles. And, as usual, the ingredients are fairly loose. Feel free to experiment with the veggies you prefer and seasonings you like. I particularly love the thyme, parsley, bay leaf triad. Use what you have, the more veggies the better, always!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 quarts bone broth
  • 1/2 -1 organic (baked, roasted or high quality rotisserie) chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 3-4 celery sticks chopped
  • 3-4 carrots chopped
  • 1-2 onions chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thyme
  • 1-2 handfuls Parsley finely chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 zucchini chopped or spiralized (optional)
  • ½ carton sliced mushrooms (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all of your ingredients to a stock pot.
  2. Simmer on low-medium heat for at least 30 mins, or until the veggies are soft. May simmer longer. I tend to like a longer slow simmer similar.

RECIPE NOTES

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or store in mason jars in the fridge or freezer for future use. This is also the perfect gift when a loved one is sick. This is the REAL chicken soup that will truly make them feel better.

These are the mason jars I use.

This is the strainer and slow-cooker I use.

 

ENJOY! Tag me in your health-boosting bone broth and yummy soups!

 

Photo by Dan Michael Sinadjan on Unsplash