BONE BROTH FUNDAMENTALS
Tasty stock is made from boiling bones of beef, veal, chicken or fish in water with a variety of vegetables and aromatics. Essential nutrients, such as collagen and various minerals and vitamins are released from the bones and vegetables into the cooking liquid creating a flavourful and nourishing broth‑the basis of every good soup, sauce or stew.
Beef bone broth requires an initial roasting of the bones in the oven (about an hour) and a long slow simmering (5 to 6 hours and more usually 24 to 48 hours) for the bones to break down and release their goodness. The contents of the pot are then strained and the liquid is simmered 15 minutes or longer until the broth is a rich golden colour with a concentrated beef flavour. When chilled the broth becomes smooth and softly gelled from the gelatin in the bones. Simmered even longer and the liquid turns into a firm glaze (demi-glace).
Chicken and veal stock are made in the same way, except initial roasting of the bones is omitted and simmering time is shorter‑ 2 to 3 hours. The resulting broth is a pale gold colour with light flavour.
Fish stock is made by simmering fish heads and bones and vegetables briskly for about 20 minutes to extract maximum flavour while retaining a fresh light taste. Longer cooking may turn the broth bitter.
BONE BROTH TO FEEL GOOD
Bone broth provides body-building amino acids and many essential minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, iron, magnesium and B12.-all contributing to a healthy body and that precious ‘feel-good’ state.
Collagen, a complex tough protein found in animal bones, tendons and ligaments, is transformed into easily digested gelatin during long, slow cooking and is said to provide some relief to painful joints and arthritis.
Believe your grandmother when she tells you that a bowl of chicken soup is just the thing when you’re laid low with a cold or the ‘flu. The hot broth clears respiratory pathways, is easily digested and will surely help you regain strength.
SPICING UP BONE BROTH
Sip a cup of hot bone broth whenever you feel like a pick-me-up at any time of day. It’s a tasty, low-calorie, satisfying way to get essential nutrients into your body and is guaranteed to bring comfort on a wintery day.
Here are a few ideas to add nutrition and variety to your daily dose…
- In a small saucepan combine 2 cups/500ml beef bone broth, ½-inch/.5cm slice ginger root, 1 small hot chili. Simmer 5 minutes and strain. Add 2-3 fresh mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, enoki). Add a handful of rice noodles, if you like. Simmer 5 minutes more. Garnish with slivered green onion to serve.
- Simmer beef bone broth with 3-4 tbsp/45-60mL julienned vegetables (e.g. carrot, turnip, daikon radish, celeriac, zucchini) for 5 minutes. Garnish with slivered green onion to serve.
- Simmer beef bone broth with thinly sliced greens (kale, baby spinach, bok choy}, a thinly sliced garlic clove and a pinch of hot pepper flakes for 5 minutes.
- Add thin slices of an herb omelette or beef steak or a poached egg to hot beef bone broth for added protein.
Tip: If you have no time to make your own Beef Bone Broth (see below), look to the shelves of your local market. Read the ingredient label and avoid chemical additives, high sodium content and artificial flavour enhancers.
In the Summerhill Market kitchen, the chefs make Bone Broth from scratch from fresh bones and vegetables. I am told that the pot simmers over night and the broth is carefully reduced and seasoned the next day. It is delicious: rich beef flavour, deep brown colour and smooth lightly gelled texture.