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I’ve been using bone broth most of my adult life–so I was pretty amused when it became a trendy food in the last few years. 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 any classical culture that doesn’t use stocks or broths in their cooking, whether that’s a quick vegetable broth or a slowly simmered bone broth. They may be used to steam vegetables or cook grains, not just the humble soup. Broths came out the necessity to use what you have. The trimming of vegetables and bones would get tossed in the pot–don’t want to lose all that beautiful nourishment.
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.
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 vinegars) 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.
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot or crock pot, cook the bones in the water for a minimum of 3-4 hours, 6-8 hours is best. Really, it is that simple. For hard, larger bones you may want to crack them with a mallet to encourage the marrow to leech out.
Add in vegetables while cooking--nope, you don't need to dice and peel them- you will strain them out later.
Skim off the fat
You can skim off the fat that arises while cooking or wait until it's done cooking.
Allow the broth to cool slightly and then remove the bones or carcass. If you have a carcass that still had meat on it, wait until it's cooled to finish picking the bones.
Line another large pot with a cheese cloth or fine sieve and pour the broth through (Careful with hot liquids–burnt fingers!)
Allow the broth to chill completely and skim off any additional fat. Now you have a basic broth. Adjust the seasonings and drink as is or use it as a soup base, to steam veggies in or to cook your grains.
Healing highlights and energetics: Marrow broth is an often overlooked food that is deeply nourishing to the body and spirit. In Chinese medicine it is excellent at treating ‘failure to grow and thrive’ (a common pattern of deficiency in children) the elderly or those recovering from illness. But you need not wait until one of these disharmonies arises to utilize its amazing benefits. Marrow broths build Blood, treats anemic conditions and strengthen the brain, bones and strongly stimulate the immune system. They nourish the Jing (essence) and creates a deep calm. This is perfect recommendation for anyone with general deficiencies, large or small.
The energetics of each broth will change depending on its ingredients. Chicken is very Qi building, while the bones of red meats are more warming and Blood building.