Bone Deep + 24 Hour Bone Broth Recipe
Unless you have been living in a cave without internet service for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard of this wonderful stuff called bone broth. Extolled first by the ancestral health communities such as Westin A. Price and quickly picked up by the Paleo/Primal communities, bone broth has now become A Thing. Take a gander at Mark’s Daily Apple and see how he admirably enumerates all the reasons why we should clasp this trend to our bosom and proclaim our undying love for it—it is Valentine’s Day, after all, and this fits squarely in the category of Self-Love.
Of course, in traditional food kitchens, such as yours truly, bone broth was never not a thing. I’d been making it about twice monthly for decades to cook with before ever considering simply drinking it for health. But the mole hill of anecdotal evidence for its healthfulness has grown to a veritable mountain of impressive research…enough reasons for me to add a glass or two to my quotidian affairs. Its benefits are both skin-deep and bone-deep, quite literally, and many points in between. Perhaps it’s just vanity speaking here, but I’m at that age where if something is good for my skin and joints, hair and nails, well fill’er up!
A caveat now—all that glitters is not gold. The amber liquid you see here is full of high-quality protein, gelatin, collagen, minerals, etc., but most of what you’ll find on grocery store shelves are not worthy of the name, unless that name be roughly equivalent to “salty water with a suggestion of MSG.” In order to get the good stuff out of it, you’ve got to put the good stuff into it, and that generally means making it at home.
I bet you’re wondering how bone broth differs from plain stock (I sure did!)—it’s all down to how long it’s cooked. Stock is rarely cooked for longer than 4 hours, whereas bone broth is on the hob anywhere from 8 to 48 hours. I personally prefer the 24 hour version, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. The 24 hour mark is the point where most of the minerals will have dissolved into the broth. It’s also easier to fit into a schedule. This is especially true if you use a slow-cooker, but I’ve also made this many times on the stovetop. And though bone broth is definitely a time-hog, it’s also almost entirely unattended time and really couldn’t be easier. You throw some of the ingredients into the pot in the morning and the remainder before you go to bed. How’s that for easy to love?
24 Hour Bone Broth
This recipe for that magic potion known as bone broth takes a full 24 hours to cook, but it also takes another day to chill thoroughly enough to remove the fat before storing. Almost the entirety of that time is unattended and hands-off, so no need to panic! You’ll be rewarded with several pints of pure golden goodness. If you have any dark green leek stalks, throw them in as well. Also, this recipe is for the slow-cooker, but you can also do it entirely on the stove over very low heat.
Makes 6 to 8 pints
Bones and skin from 2 chickens or one small turkey, roasted or raw
2 Tbs. coriander seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
Pinch of fennel seeds
4 bay leaves, broken in half
1 dried chile pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
About 3 quarts filtered water (to cover)
1/4 cup dried mushrooms, OR 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 or more garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 bunch parsley
1 branch rosemary or 2 branches fresh thyme or oregano (optional)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
About 2 Tbs. unflavored gelatin (optional)
Place bones and skin in slow cooker insert. Put seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and crack them up a bit. Add to the slow cooker along with the bay leaves, chile and vinegar. Cover the bones with water. Cook on low about 12 hours. I like to start this in the morning.
In the evening, add the vegetables and herbs. Sprinkle with the salt, and top up with more water if it’s fallen very much below the level of the solid ingredients. The vegetables will also release some water. Cook for another 12 hours.
The next morning, strain out the solids, and pour into containers to cool. Cover and chill overnight so the fat can solidify. When ready to finish, scrape the fat from the surface with a spoon (it will be too soft to lift off) and discard. Pour the stock into a clean pot. It might not be set very firmly—the reason is because the gelatin strands that form and are responsible for the firmness of stock get broken apart again in the long simmering; thus the broth is often soft and runny. The gelatin is still there, it’s just not firm.
If you’d like to add more gelatin to firm it up, simply sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of unflavored gelatin over the top of your cold stock. Let sit about 5 minutes, till it “blooms” and thickens on the top. The turn the heat on low, and stir till the gelatin melts. Once warm, taste for seasoning, and adjust the salt until it tastes good to you. I drink my stock as well as cook with it, so I like it to taste well-seasoned from the start.
When it tastes as you like it, strain once more through cheesecloth or other fine cloth. Pour into pint or quart jars, leaving 1/2” headspace, and allow to cool. Screw on the lids, label, and freeze for up to several months. Once thawed, it will last about a week in the fridge.