As a holistic health practitioner, I get frustrated with trends and fads in health. A new product or isolated element comes out and I am asked “Do you have X (for x-condition)?!” One thing is not going to be the panacea that lifts all ills miraculously. Healing comes from working on mental, physical, and energetic aspects. But sometimes age-old wisdom resurfaces.
Enter bone broth.
It is not new. Gramma knew. Great gramma knew. My traditional Polish cookbook has recipes for chicken stock and beef stock. I have been making mine for years ahead of the current reemergence. Ancestors knew to take the bones and create a gelatin-rich elixir. This is one of the key components of the Ancestral Diet and studied by people like Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Royal Lee.
Both Dr. Lee and Dr. Price were dentists. Dr. Price looked at dental health as a hallmark. He spent time with the peoples living and eating the way of their ancestors. They had perfect teeth: zero decay with straight alignment, and wider faces. The people who consumed modern industrialized diets of canned, processed, preserved, processed foods had dental decay and chronic illnesses. As they produced offspring, the children evolved with narrowed faces, crowded teeth, and prone to tooth decay.
Bone broth is high in gelatin, though not a complete protein, it helps with the utilization of other complete proteins. Gelatin also soothes intestinal membranes, aids digestion, supports hair, skin and nails, and, unlike other cooked foods, it is hydrophilic, which means it attracts liquids (Sally Fallon, 2001).
The broth, when properly prepared, is rich in minerals (calcium, magnesium and potassium), electrolytes, collagen, as well as infused constituents of the herbs used to season the broth. Bone broth is an elixir of sorts.
Making Traditional Food Easy
We may put off cooking our bone broth or doing a pot of soup on occasions. However, this can be done simply. After you get the hang of it, it is easy to “throw together” a pot of broth. I used a whole fryer chicken, cutting the legs and wings to be in the liquid. Recently, I have found that using legs only is my go-to method for putting on a quick broth, as my photos show.
I do not measure. It’s to the point where I just know. I do use a teaspoon or slightly more of Redmond Real Salt. You can always add in the bowl. People with salt sensitivity will find that essential. I do not recommend white table salt or foregoing salt all together.
Broth is best when clarified. I do this by removing the chicken, skimming out the vegetables and straining the broth through unbleached cheese cloth. Broth is chilled in the refrigerator. Fat will rise to the top, which can be pulled off. A good broth should have a gelatin quality after being chilled- thick and jiggles, at the very least, thickens. You may have broth that has a higher water to gelatin ratio, which results in a watery broth. It is still nutritious. If you desire, you can reduce this down by boiling.
The clear broth can be used all the ways you use broth and stock. It should keep in the refrigerator 5 days safely. I spoon my broth into silicone ice cube trays, freeze, and transfer the broth cubes into a freezer bag. The ice cube tray I use makes approximately 1 ounce cubes. They are so easy to take 3, melt them in a pot with vegetables, noodles, soba, farro, quinoa, or barley.
Bone broth is versatile. You can use leftover roasted vegetables, steamed or sauteed vegetables, frozen vegetables, or whatever you have on hand to construct a bowl of soup. Add Cajun seasoning, go with an Asian theme adding tamari sauce, sesame oil and ginger, or make a pasta fazool with tomato sauce and beans. This is my lunch! The bone broth also makes a great warm sipping beverage. I love mine with salt and cayenne pepper.
I highly recommend being selective with your chicken. Use naturally-raised, organic, free-range, or local when you can. How the chicken was raised and what it consumed will translate to your broth. Slow is best: Stock pot, crock pot, and, my method, roasting. The elements of the ingredients need to be cooked slowly to obtain the benefits. Pressure cookers are not recommended. A home-cooked broth will always be superior to the commercial varieties.
When I am right on with my ingredients, I’m taken back to Gramma Muha’s kitchen.
Andréa’s Roasted Bone Broth
1 lb or more natural chicken legs (5 legs)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3-4 organic carrots sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced (can use more)
Redmond Real Salt– about 1 teaspoon/lb.
Paprika, thyme, rosemary (just a little), parley (2 tablespoons, maybe), ground celery seed (roughly ¼ tsp.), sage, coriander, 1 ½ bay leaves, 2 whole cloves, smidgen of lemon peel. All herbs and spices are organic or natural. I use all dried.
Moscato wine and Balsamic (or mixed with apple cider vinegar) vinegar equaling no more than a ¼ Cup. Yes, I use wine in my broth. These add acidity to draw minerals from the bone.
Fill pan with purified water until a half inch, but no more, from the top. Use a covered roasting pan, like Granite Ware. Covered roasting pans act like an oven within the oven. I prefer covered pans to keep the liquid, which is the essential part, from evaporating.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the broth for an hour. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and allow 2 hours of cook time. Check the broth occasionally to see if you need to add more water.
Beef Bone Broth has some different seasonings, but the principle is the same. I’ve also used the above method to made Ham Bone Broth. The clarified broth was added to vegetables and beans for THEE best bean soup we’ve ever had. When I roast a turkey, I use the recipe above. Turkey broth does have a stronger flavor than the chicken.
Resources on books and the equipment I use are linked below. Herbs and bottled spices are available through me. I don’t keep a stock, so it is special order. Bulk also available
I welcome questions and comments.
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Resources & Equipment:
Granite Ware 19 inch roaster. Fits my turkey or when I am making a large amount of chicken bone broth.
Nourishing Traditions -Sally Fallon
Nourishing Broth -Sally Fallon
Nourishing Diets -Sally Fallon
Body Ecology Living Cookbook -Donna Gates
Redmond Real Salt– also good for salt baths
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration -a classic work by Price and Pottenger.