We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bone Broth—It's What's for Breakfast

by Linda

"Good bone broth will resurrect the dead." —A South American Proverb

Mark enjoys a cup of steaming bone broth on a cold January morning.
   I recently heard it said that bone broth is the new coffee. It gives me hope to think this adage might be true—or could be true anyway. Emerging on the subject is lots of new information to support what ancient cultures have always known—bone broth provides a solid foundation for good health.
   A healthy body requires specific nutrition that is difficult to find in one's diet otherwise. Broth made from bones is full of trace minerals, gelatin, collagen, marrow, cartilage and glycine. Those nutrients in a soup form are easily absorbed into our bodies because they are leached out into the liquid. We need these nutrients because our bodies are built of the same materials—like it or not. A slow-cooked bone broth is the traditional and easy way to get these essential nutrients into our bodies. Pressure cookers can assist in this process for those of us who need to make it quickly.

  Our American addiction to coffee and the considerable daily dose of caffeine this habit provides is a crutch that many of us use to fuel our insanely busy lives, and is generally considered harmless by most people. It is something that we laugh at in an offhand manner. "Don't even talk to me until I have had my coffee"—is our national mantra. It's a habit that supports a Starbucks or Pete's on every street corner and in every strip mall. Many people arrive at work with the large cup of coffee in hand, and then keep drinking it all day long. It's even worse that their coffee it is often spiked with lots of sugar or truly horrific artificial sweeteners. Our coffee is also doctored up with things like chemically-laden powdered creamers and artificial flavorings. Consider this—many of us already have stressed out adrenal glands and high cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. This causes a myriad of health problems and makes us more susceptible to insomnia, colds and flu, allergies, hair loss, belly fat and low sex drive. Our national addiction to coffee helps raise our already sky-high cortisol levels.

   If you are looking to change some bad habits this year, and have a healthier diet in 2015—giving up coffee as your daily kickstart might be something to consider. Have it occasionally, on your weekend perhaps, when you are really have the time to notice and enjoy that caffeine induced euphoria. I know I do.
   Bone broth is also great to have in your freezer to use as a base for your soups and sauces. I love Pho. The flavor of homemade broth makes this delicious soup so much better than packaged or canned broths, and you control the ingredients—like sodium—which is used to disguise the taste of inferior ingredients in commercial products. Choose good quality bones for your broth and fresh organic vegetables if you are able. Happy Cooking in 2015 and Mazel Broth!

Mark's Bone Broth

   It is really worth the time and effort to make your own broth for many reasons. First, you can control the quality of your ingredients. Second is cost. Good quality broth at my supermarket (and I'm not talking about the canned or boxed stuff) runs about eight dollars per quart, Also, you want to purchase good quality bones. I buy mine at Whole Foods Market, but there are small local butcher shops popping up around the country ( I have one in my town). These shops are returning to whole animal butchery and source their animals from small local ranches. This would be a likely spot to purchase not only good quality bones, but calves' feet which are an excellent source of the aforementioned gelatin.

A large roasting pan
A large stock pot— remember the famous words of Julia Child, "Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need."

4 pounds of beef bones
4 ribs of celery cut into large dice
3 large carrots cut to 1/2 inch rounds
2 medium white onions plus skins, cut into large dice
8 cloves of garlic—crush but leave the skins on
1 cup unpacked parsley leaves
3-4 bay leaves
Dry or fresh thyme
1 Tbsp whole black pepper corns
Celtic sea salt
Filtered water

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
2. Add beef bones to a roasting pan large enough for them to be spread out to a single layer. Add onion skins, garlic cloves, half of one onion, one carrot, and one celery rib; all pre-cut. Add a small pinch or two of sea salt to the bones.
3. Place roasting pan with bones and vegetables into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Onion skins should char a bit and beef bones should show some browning. Note: the darker you let the bones get, the darker your stock will be. However, going too long can make your stock bitter.
4. When bones are roasted, place all roasting pan ingredients plus the bay leaves and peppercorns in the large stock pot and add 4 quarts of filtered water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a medium to slow boil once everything is bubbling.

The roasted bones and veggies.
5. For the next hour, remove scum and fat from the top layer of the stock.
6. At the end of one hour, add the rest of the carrots, onions, and celery plus the fresh parsley and the thyme. Stir and bring back to a moderate boil.
7. For the next 3 hours, allow the stock to boil gently and occasionally skim for fat that will rise to the top. You will lose some volume of water during this time. I like to add more pre-heated, filtered water to keep the volume constant. Pre-heating the water keeps the stock at a steady boil.
8. At the end of cooking, the vegetables will have given their all and the bones will look dry and porous when held up to the air. Turn off heat and allow the stock to sit for one half hour.

Deglazing the roasting pan with boiling water to capture all of the roasted flavor.
9. When the stock has cooled a bit, it is time to strain the broth into empty containers using a fine mesh sieve or a strainer lined with cheese cloth. I like to leave my stock in the refrigerator overnight to allow any remaining fat to separate and to rise to the top of the broth for easy removal.
10. Once cooled, the stock can be put into containers of your choice, or poured into ice cube trays. These can be frozen for use later and can keep up to six months for best flavor.
(This method involves roasted elements and fresh ingredients. The stock will take on the roasted flavors, but also have a clean, freshness that I also enjoy.)

Our frozen bone broth ready for breakfast or for making soup and stews.

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