For my 16th birthday lunch, as a much respected U.S. exchange student in Cali, Colombia, I was presented with a cup of light broth which proudly sported a chicken foot. I was a bit homesick anyway and this drove me over the cliff — I sat literally crying in my chicken-foot soup. That’s before I knew of the healing power and bone broth benefits.
Since then, I’ve learned to enjoy bone broth as a warming drink. Now bone broth is all the rage, and while I wouldn’t depend on it for my bone-building minerals, it’s a good substitute for coffee or tea or that afternoon snack. Here are some good reasons to make and drink bone broth, along with a new recipe I just tried.
Bone broth benefits
- Bone broth strengthens the immune system, as documented with chicken broth. Your grandmother was right.
- Bone broth is easily digestible, helping to heal the lining of the gut.
- The gelatin found in bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin is hydrophilic, meaning that it attacks attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices thereby supporting proper digestion.
- Bone broth can help to replace electrolytes after intense exercise and can be used as an excellent sports recovery drink.
- Most importantly, making our own broth gives us a chance to return to the kitchen to prepare homemade, whole foods from scratch.
Bone broth has been considered a healing food for centuries
When making bone broth, traditional Chinese way of preparing bone broth in a highly acidic medium yields a much higher mineral content than the broth we normally prepare. Prolonged cooking for 8 hours or more also appears to increase mineral content. Using bones with marrow and adding bone-building vegetables like kale, collards, and onions to your stock pot increases its nutrient composition.
From an anthropological perspective, bone broth is likely to have been around since humans were able to boil water. Bone-based stocks of all sorts exist in every meat-eating traditional cuisine and today a pot of stock is always on the back burner in most in high-end restaurants. What’s more, long before humans could boil water, they cracked bones for the rich marrow inside. Today, many people around the world chew on the ends of soft bones, like those of chicken.
A bone broth recipe for you to try
I made this recipe this weekend and got seven quarts of delicious chicken broth. Give it a try and let me know. Bon appetite!
GOLDEN CHICKEN BROTH
Makes about 6 quarts
3 pounds chicken feet
5 pounds chicken wings
7 pounds chicken backs and necks
3 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
6 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
5 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
Fine sea salt
Place all the chicken parts in a 16-quart pot and add cold water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat for about 1 hour, skimming off the foamy impurities every 15 to 20 minutes.
As soon as the liquid boils, reduce the heat to low and pull the pot to one side so it is partially off the burner.
Simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, skimming once or twice.
Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley; and push them down into the liquid.
Continue to simmer for 3 to 5 hours, checking once or twice to make sure that the bones are still fully submerged.
Use a spider skimmer to remove the solids and discard. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Season with salt to taste and let it cool.
Transfer the cooled broth to storage containers (leaving any sediment in the bottom of the pot) and refrigerate overnight. Spoon off any solidified fat. Store the broth for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 6 months.
Savor and enjoy the bone broth benefits
Recipe from Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook by Marco Canora
Rosen, H. N., H. Salemme, A. J. Zeind, A. C. Moses, A. Shapiro, and S. L. Greenspan. 1994. Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking. Calcified Tissue International 54:486–488.