For you youngsters, today’s heading is from an old, OLD song. Just sayin’.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a major fan of bone broth. Sounds yucky, right? I thought so, too, but then I read a book called THE BONE BROTH DIET. Now, while I’m a dedicated member of Weight Watchers and intend to remain so, and I have no interest in the diet du jour, I was intrigued by the health benefits bone broth offers. It is low in calories and very filling, and it tastes good. So, being too busy to go from shop to shop looking for the bones I needed, I went online. There, I found all the appropriate bones and voila–click the ‘place order’ button and get back to work. A few days later, the goods are delivered, still frozen solid. I whipped up that first batch and I was sold–so savory, and I felt full for hours. Now, I wouldn’t be without the stuff.
Basically, you get the best variety of soup and marrow bones you can find, and the more variety, the better. The last couple of times, I threw in a turkey neck and a whole chicken, and this was beef broth. As for vegetables, I use onions (always), garlic (always), carrots, scrubbed but unpeeled and chopped, but not diced, leeks, along with a few bay leaves, whole peppercorns, etc. (Last time, I added parsnips, and it was great–rutabagas and turnips would be tasty, too. The great thing is, the veggies don’t have to be peeled, and that is my least favorite part of cooking.) Next, you get out a large roasting pan, throw in the bones and veggies and stir them up a little. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes–until things are nicely browned. (Warning: if you skip this step, you will not have as much flavor later on.) Once you’ve done the roasting, throw everything into either a large stockpot or a big slow cooker. Most chefs will tell you to add 2 gallons of purified water, but I just use tap water–I have a well and I know there are no contaminates. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and turn it down to simmer. Chef Marco Canora, author of my favorite book on the subject, BRODO: A BONE BROTH COOKBOOK, recommends leaving the lid off the pot, something about evaporation. I don’t normally do that, and my broth turns out primo, so there you go. Bone broth needs to simmer for a long, long time–I give mine a solid 24 hours in the slow cooker. You’ll want to skim off any impurities–I think this refers to the foam that comes with boiling, but otherwise, you just leave it alone. When ready, you fish out all the bones and meat and vegetables and set them aside, pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer, and let it cool a little. DON’T leave the stuff out for longer than 20 minutes, though, because that is risky to the nth degree. Pop the works into the fridge, and within a short time, a layer of fat will form on top. Scoop that off–some cooks retain it to cook with later, others discard it. Now you’re ready to pour your delicious concoction into containers–I use wide-mouth Mason jars and leave a couple of inches at the top for expansion purposes, then freeze the ones I’m not planning to use immediately.
You’ll note that I didn’t give a lot of specific measurements, and that’s because I’m one of those free-style cooks, adding this or that. Carnora and other master chefs give detailed instructions, and there are beau-coup recipes available online as well. Also, you may be alarmed to see that the broth has a gelatinous quality once it’s chilled–that’s GOOD. That’s collagen, and it’s excellent for your skin, your nails, your joints, and a whole lot of your other various parts. Broth also makes a great base for other soups, risottos (more on these in my upcoming mushroom blog), casseroles, etc. I like to spoon it into a coffee mug, zap it in the microwave, and drink it–I love soup, in just about any form, so it works for me.
If any of you have suggestions or recipes, I’d love to hear about them, and I’ll bet our other blog-buddies would, too.
So, on other subjects, as if I haven’t said enough for one day, I can’t allow a Tuesday to pass without celebrating New Book Day! I head straight for the computer and hit Audible.com, and download a bunch of audiobooks. (I still love printed books best, but I can listen while I’m doing other things and at night before I go to sleep.) This week’s crop includes: THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING, by the inimitable Fannie Flagg (did you not love FRIED GREEN TOMATOES??), STRANGE AND OBSCURE STORIES OF THE CIVIL WAR (yes!), SEVENTH HEAVEN, by the also inimitable Alice Hoffman, and more. As I mentioned recently, I’ve been on a YA kick for a while now, but this week, I’m listening to adult stuff. The Tara Dairman books are not to be missed, if you’re a foodie.
Well, I guess this makes up for a few short blogs–or the days when there were none at all.
Tomorrow is Weight Watchers day, but I hope to blog. In the meantime, be well, and if you’re under the weather–make soup!