Feb 2, 2017

Bone Up

One of the hottest trends in today’s culinary world is not new to us. Bone broth, the new darling of chefs everywhere, is actually good old “krefitge” chicken soup like your grandma made!  When she added marrow bones and let if cook for hours the nutrients in the bones broke down and made the soup protein rich and immeasurably flavorful.  Historically, people across the globe have always used the whole animal, nothing went to waste; and that includes emphasis on using bones for making broth.

Nowadays, elaborate recipes begin with preparing bone broth to flavor soups, stews and braises. Short-cuts have you purchase shelf stable, boxed bone broth, but we all know nothing compares to homemade.  Health gurus are even drinking it for breakfast as a protein-rich way to start the day. Of course, we are unlikely to make ourselves fleishig so early in the day but having a cupful before dinner will ensure you get in that extra dose of protein that is so important.

What’s the difference between broth, stock and bone broth?

Bone broth, broth and stock are built on the same basic foundation: water, meat or bones (or both), vegetables and seasonings.

Broth is typically made with chicken and a small amount of bones. Broth may be simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours). It is very light in flavor and thin in texture.

Stock is simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours) and contains vegetables as well.  

Bone Broth is typically made with bones and the meat adhering to the bones. Some recipes call for roasting the meat or chicken and vegetables before cooking to bring out even more richness and flavor. Bone broths are simmered for a very long period of time; often for 8 hours with the purpose being not only to produce gelatin from collagen-rich bones but also to release a small amount of trace minerals from bones. Bone broths are extraordinarily rich in protein, and can be a source of minerals as well.   

Bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  You can also freeze it for up to for 6 months.  

A heavy-bottomed stock pot that’s large enough to hold several pounds of bones is a worthwhile investment. A fine-mesh sieve helps you to strain the broth after you’ve made it so that it’s easy to discard the bones and other debris. A skimmer helps to remove the foamy scum that bubbles up at the top of the pot as it cooks.  Removing it helps to clarify your broth and improve its flavor.

The powdered soup mix in your pantry will be a thing of the past!

6 pounds bones, a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, chicken or meat or a combination

4 medium unpeeled carrots, washed

2 leeks, trimmed and washed well

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic head, halved crosswise, peels are fine

4 celery stalks

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

4 tablespoons kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 minutes more.

Fill an 8 quart stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices. Add more water if necessary to cover bones and vegetables.

Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly open, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for 8-10 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged. Alternately, you can cook the broth in a slow cooker on low for the same amount of time.

Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables. Let continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth. Freeze until needed. Use in soups, braised and stews for unbelievable flavor. 

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