Over the last year or so, boiling leftover bones has become somewhat popular and with the rise of healthy living recipe books, it’s now not unusual to see ‘bone broth’ on an ingredients list.
I first noticed this rather peculiar ingredient in Hemsley & Hemsley’s first cookery book, ‘The Art of Eating Well’ which was first published in 2014. Being less adventurous in the kitchen back then, I naturally shied away from spending 12hrs or so making my own broth and instead, stuck to the substitution of water or the less sexy stock cube!
But why the fascination in bone broth?
In my reading around the subject, bone broth or more commonly ‘stock’, was actually a staple ingredient in family homes around 50 or so years ago, but has since gone out of fashion. I think this is partly down to a number of factors, such as our lives becoming busier and our desire for ‘fast food’, be it home cooked or bought. But, the goodness of bone broth hasn’t gone out of fashion and continues to increase with the rise of organic livestock and higher welfare farms, which provide higher quality meat and in turn, bones!
And in the words of the Hemsley sisters,
“A good, homemade bone broth is rich in easily digestible substances such as amino acids, gelatine (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints), glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals and collagen (which improves the condition of skin).”
And it is these benefits which put bone broth well ahead of other alternatives such as a stock cube or store bought ‘fresh stock’, which tend to be packed with unnecessary ingredients such as salt and palm oil.
Another brilliant benefit of bone broth is that it brings us back to a more frugal and mindful way of cooking. Frugal because we’re using what would otherwise be considered as waste product to provide a nutritious cheap meal. To produce a litre or so of stock, all you need is a left over carcass of chicken or to buy a bag of bones for a £1 from your local butcher.
Preparing bone broth also brings us back to a more mindful way of cooking as it takes time and care to make a great stock; it also brings us back to a slower way of being in the kitchen rather than instantaneous gratification.
My bone broth transition…
A month or so ago, you might remember that I decided to save a chicken carcass by popping it in the freezer. Well, I was feeling adventurous one day and decided to throw the bones in a pan following the H+H method – they sat on the hob, simmering away for 6 hours or so (smelling absolutely delicious) and were ready in time to form the broth-base for the dahl which I’ve linked to below.
The chicken wasn’t the biggest, so I made about a litre of stock… I was also limited by my pan size. Something I need to work out is how to make a more concentrated broth, which I think comes when you reduce the stock. Something that the Hemsley’s don’t really touch on but this Guardian method does.
And so after a rather successful attempt at chicken bone broth, we decided to visit our local butcher on Cowley Road and asked for a bag of bones… the butcher rummaged in the back of the shop and came back with 1.4kg of beef bones. All for £1! Now…. I have to say, this doesn’t mean I advocate eating beef due to the huge impact that farming cows has on the environment, but I am of the mindset that if a waste product can be put to good use then it should be used!
After 12hours of cooking on Sunday afternoon, I had the most beautiful beef broth… with natural fats separating to the top (these are good for us, honest!). This is now sat in a pyrex dish in my fridge, ready to be used up in our dinners. This stock will last a week in the fridge or can be popped in the freezer for later.
For further reading on the subject, head on over to these links!