Time for Bone Broth
Bone broth. The new superfood. Some call it a fad, but people have been drinking this nutrient dense liquid since the stone age. Why?
There is a South American proverb that says "good broth resurrects the dead." I am not going to take this too literally, but with my background in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I take it seriously enough. All of the herbal formulas that I now use in conveniently prepared capsule form were traditionally prepared in the same way that broth or stocks are prepared. The raw herbs are placed in a large pot of water (some soak over night), brought to a boil and left to simmer. The herbs are removed and the liquid is consumed. TCM techniques like this have been around for over 4,000 years.
Interestingly enough, some of the herbs used in Chinese medicine come from bones of different species. These herbs are known for restoring the yang energy in the body and nourishing one's essence (which is the stuff we pull from for energy - aka immune system or bone marrow). In plain english, (not Chinese Medicine terms) bone broth is loaded with healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium. It is also full of collagen and gelatin, making it magical for both your intestinal and joint health.
Kobe Bryant has recently given credit to this age old tradition. "Each day in the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo, Sandra Padilla, the team's longtime chef, makes enough soup to feed around 30 people, many of them hungry athletes with large appetites." The athletes sip on her bone broth to keep there bodies going, despite the physical and mental stress of their job. Read more about how these athletes recover in this article published by the Washington Post in January.
Not a professional athlete? Neither am I. The health benefits of this broth are seen in a wide range of populations. It is great for recovery from your soul cycle class, a stressful week at work or your chemotherapy regimen.
So what now? Let's make some.
There are plenty of ways to make bone broth at home. I have made it on the stove, but most of the time the magic happens in my slow cooker by cuisineart. If you are fancy, this broth can be made quickly (1 hour and a half) in a pressure cooker. My instructions will be for the slow cooker. Follow same instructions on stove top, but bring all to a boil before letting simmer for 12-24 hours or until bones are soft. You will need to add water to be sure all ingredients are still submerged throughout the process.
2 1/2 pounds of assorted beef, chicken, and/or pork bones (meaty bones like short ribs add to flavor and including knuckles or chicken feet increases gelatin content), or cook a whole chicken from the farmers market and add the bones after chicken is cooked
2 medium leeks or 1 small onion (peeled, trimmed and cut)
8 cups of water (enough to cover chicken if cooking whole chicken)
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 piece of fresh ginger peeled and cut into thick coins
sea salt and any additional seasonings (I like adding tumeric and pepper)
additional veggies (dried shitake mushrooms, carrots, celery)
1) Place the bones and veggies (or your whole chicken) into your slow cooker (pot, or pressure cooker)
2) Add water to the slow cooker, making sure vegetables/bones/chicken are fully submerged in the water. (pressure cooker don't fill beyond 2/3 capacity)
3) Pour in apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger (and any additional veggies - dried shitake mushrooms, carrots, celery)
4) Cover and set to cook on low for 8-24 hours (I do 24 hours). If you are cooking a whole chicken you will need to remove the chicken from water after a few hours and throw the bones and feet back in for the remainder. The advantage to this cooking method is I can be gone all day.
5) Strain the broth through a cheesecloth lined colander or fine mesh sieve to filter out the bones and veggies. Season with salt and gulp it down.
6) Keep the leftover broth in a covered container (I like to use mason jars). In the refrigerator the broth will stay good for a few days. In the freezer you can enjoy up to 6 months later. Once bone broth is chilled, it will turn to a gel consistency like jello. Once heated, it will return to it's liquid state.