Bone broth is all the rage at the moment and, to its credit (fads aside), it's delicious and nourishing. The extra benefits of bone broth are derived from a longer simmering time which allows the collagen, amino acids and minerals to be released from the bones into your broth.
Generally speaking, the bigger the bones the longer the cooking time. For example, if you use beef bones, you should really roast them first (for around 30 minutes) and then simmer them for 8+ hours. For the recipe below, I am using chicken - you don't need to roast the bones first, the simmering time is 6 hours, the taste is lighter, and the broth is more versatile for use in other recipes.
I like to use a whole chicken when I'm making bone broth because it's nice to have the left over chicken meat to use for other meals (or for use in the broth, if you want to turn it into a classic chicken soup). However, you could also ask your butcher for just bones, if that suits you better.
Making bone broth doesn't require precision. You can mix and match flavors depending on what vegetables and aromatics you have in the fridge. Thyme and bay leaves add a lovely herbal note. Dill and parsley can be delicious additions too - although I would add these more delicate herbs to the pot in the last 30 minutes of simmering (as I have done with the celery leaf in the recipe below).
Ideally all the ingredients you use for a bone broth would be organic, clean and healthy. You are cooking them for such a long time to withdraw all their goodness - you don't want any nasty chemicals or hormones.
You can use bone broth in any recipe that calls for store bought stock or broth, and it will improve both the taste and the nutrition of your dish.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES / COOKING TIME: 6 HOURS
MAKES: Around 2 quarts
- 1 whole chicken, plus 4 extra wings (preferably organic)
- 4 carrots
- 3 onions
- 1/2 bunch celery (leaves separated)
- 3 quarts of water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil.
- Cut the chicken into large pieces.
- Add the chicken pieces, plus the 4 extra wings, salt, pepper, and rosemary to the pot. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove all the chicken pieces from the pot, except the wings. Using gloves (as the chicken will be hot), remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Then remove the meat from the bones, and refrigerate. Return the bones to the simmering pot.
- Roughly chop the carrot, celery stalks, and onion, and add to the pot.
- Simmer for a further 5 hours. Check the water level occasionally, and top up if the bones or vegetables aren't covered by at least 2 inches of water.
- Add the celery leaves and simmer for a final 30 minutes. It doesn't take long for the celery leaves to infuse the broth with their flavor, so it's best to add them at the end to keep the overall flavor fresh.
- Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. The chicken bones will crumble to the touch.
- Allow the liquid to cool off a bit before putting in the fridge, and then refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, there will be a layer of solidified fat across the top of the liquid. Skim the surface with a spoon to remove this fat and discard. The bone broth will be the consistency of jelly (thanks to the the gelatin from the bones), and will liquify again when reheated.
- You can keep this bone broth in the fridge for 3-4 days, but I suggest freezing it in individual portions because it lasts in the freezer for up to 1 year.
One of my favorite uses for bone broth is in Egg Drop Soup. This dish requires only 2 ingredients, is unbelievable healthy, and takes less than 5 minutes to make. Instructions to come...!