I’ve been using bone broth most of my adult life so I was pretty amused when it became a trendy food a few years ago. Instead of coffee shops, you could slip into the broth cafe and have a cup before speeding off to work. The trend got a little fanatical, suddenly there was a bone shortage, some restaurants were simply opening boxed broths and heating them up for the customer, there were articles on the benefits of broth, and just as many renouncing it as ‘over-cooked, old and dead food’…it got weird to say the least.
So what’s my take on broths?
They are fabulous, there isn’t a culture in history (since we’ve been cooking) that didn’t use stocks or broths in their cooking, whether that’s a quick vegetable broth or a slowly simmered bone broth. Broths and stocks are kitchen basic – they may be used to steam vegetables or cook grains, not just the humble or extravagant soup. Broths came out of the necessity of needing to use what you blessed to have. Most stocks and broths would vary greatly depending on what the cook had in the kitchen and what they needed to use up. The trimming of vegetables and bones would get tossed in the pot – don’t want to lose all that beautiful nourishment. The ‘perfected’ recipes of precise flavor and measurements would come about when society start having greater abundance and availability to be able to choose and control the recipes more. In my kitchen, I tend to run to the earlier practice of using of my veg trimmings and tossing in the random mushroom, etc. I enjoy the flavor diversity.
I use a variety, as soups are a large part of my diet. Sometimes I purposefully set out to create a certain flavor, other times I wait to see what I’ve got and then adjust the flavorings. Is it difficult to make? No, it just likes to take its time, especially if you want to get the most out of the broth. Soup, in general, is highly nourishing and allows for many variations but there are a few rules to observe when making a bone marrow broth.
I am very conscious of the state of the planet and food security issues. One of the major concerns we have right now is sustainability, especially in regards to animals. Please consider if you do choose to eat animal proteins get them local and sustainable.
Below is a very basic recipe try it as is or play with it. A few quick tips when you are adjusting flavors. Sours (like vinegar or lemon) brighten the flavor. Salt marries or blends the flavor. If you over salt the pot, toss in a potato that loves to soak up salt. Fat satiates, and comforts – which is why we love it so much. I tend to leave my broths unflavored or spices (expect for what might have been on the turkey or meat when it was cooked). This allows for a mostly blank pallet. Then you can flavor the dish or soup as you build it. Do you want Asian, Mediterranean or whatever?