Traditional cultures always made bone broth, utilizing every possible part of the animal including the carcass. But even in our modern society, that tends to shy away from offal and focuses on muscle meat, the idea of cooking bones to create a rich broth is not foreign – after all, it’s a known Thanksgiving tradition to use the turkey carcass to make a tasty broth, which serves as the basis for a delicious, goodie-filled leftover turkey soup.
Bone broth is very healthy: when properly cooked over low heat for several hours, it is incredibly rich and gelatinous. This is a good thing: it means that the mineral-rich liquid (bone broth is rich in magnesium and phosphorus, possibly in calcium too) is also high in collagen, and consuming it regularly supports bone, tooth and joint health.
To make bone broth, you can either buy bones, or do as I do and save leftover bones after cooking and roasting bone-in meats such as whole chicken, bone-in baked pork chops or chicken drumsticks. Keep the bones in a freezer bag in the freezer, and once you have about 2 pounds of bones, get cooking.
To add extra flavor to bone broth, cook it with vegetables and herbs, add plenty of salt (it still won’t be as salty as the MSG-laden, store-bought stuff), and cook for at least 8 hours, especially if you’re using beef bones.
- 2 lbs bones (beef, chicken, lamb or fish), preferably organic and/or grass-fed
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- If using raw bones, roast them first for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
- Place everything in a large stockpot. Pour a gallon of water on top. Bring to a boil over high heat. This will probably take 20 minutes or so.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover except for the tiniest crack, and allow to gently simmer for 8 hours. During the first hour of cooking, check the soup occasionally and if a foamy layer has formed at the top, use a spoon to remove it.
- Carefully pour the broth through a strainer into a large container, getting rid of the bones and overcooked vegetables. Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, remove the layer of fat from the top if you wish (I don’t), heat and serve as a delicious, good-for-you appetizer.