Bone broth has really been having a moment lately. It makes a great base for soups, stews, gravies, sauces, and more, and is great even when consumed on its own. But what is it exactly and is it really good for you? Let’s find out.
What is bone broth, and how is it different from broth and stock?
To understand what bone broth is, we’ll need to know what broth and stock are, and the differences between them.
Broth is when meat, vegetables, aromatics, and some amount of bones are simmered together in water and cooked for anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours, strained and then seasoned. Broth is meant to be light and full of flavour, can be consumed on its own, and stays liquid when chilled. Broth is also often used as a base for soups, stews, gravies, or sauces.
Stock is when animal bones, vegetables, aromatics, are simmered together in water for around four to six hours, then strained. The bones, sometimes with some meat attached, and vegetables are sometimes roasted before simmering, and the stock is not seasoned. The primary aim of stock is to extract the collagen from bones and connective tissue, which gives stock its gelatinous texture. Stock is not meant to be eaten on its own and is always made so it can be used as a base for a sauce or gravy or to deglaze a pan.
Bone broth falls squarely somewhere between broth and stock. The base tends to gravitate more towards stock, since the bones are often roasted to make it and also has some meat attached to it, and is also cooked for a long time. The idea behind bone broth is to not only extract the gelatin from the bones, but also nutritional elements from its other ingredients like glucosamine, amino acids, electrolytes, calcium, etc. Bone broth, after its simmering period, is strained, seasoned, and then enjoyed on its own, just like a broth is.
A slow-simmered bone broth has delicate flavours, perfect to sip on its own or to use as a base for sauces, gravies, casseroles, or stews.
Bones from 1 whole chicken, don't trim meat off
1 head of garlic, peeled and cloves sectioned
2 bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
5-7 whole peppercorns
12 cups water
Salt and Pepper
1-2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
Place chicken bones and meat on a large baking tray. Roughly chop carrots and onions in large pieces, and add to baking tray. Drizzle bones and vegetables with a little oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
In a large stock pot or saucepan, pour in 12 cups of water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic cloves. Add the roasted meat, bones, and vegetables and let it come to a simmer. Every 10 minutes, skim the surface and remove the fat pooling at the top. Once it comes to a boil, cover and let it simmer for 40 minutes.
Place a colander over a bowl and pour in the broth. Return the clear broth to the saucepan, add in the lemon juice, and season with salt. Add chilli flakes if you'd like. Simmer for 10 more minutes and serve hot.
To enhance the flavours, you experiment with adding herbs and alliums in the simmering stage. Try chopped spring onions, coriander, or even spices like cumin to add your own twist.