If you haven’t heard by now of all the health benefits of bone broth, then it’ s time to take note. We’ve all heard the scientific evidence that chicken soup really does have healing powers. Our mothers were right to force feed us homemade chicken soup when we were sick, More and more research is out there now, further revealing more benefits of bone broth. I won’t bore you with all the scientific facts, but I will share some simple benefits that make bone broth such a miracle-type food. Bone broth helps heal and seal your gut, as well as promote healthy digestion. It will reduce joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin, sulphates, glucosamine and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage. It promotes strong, healthy bones because it contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other important nutrients. It also inhibits infection caused by viruses and flu. It also promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin found in the broth. It fights total body inflammation, thanks to the amino acids such as glycine, proline and arginine.
All the above can be attained by simply cooking bones in water for many hours, and then drinking the broth. What amazes me the most is that, before all this scientific evidence came out, mothers instinctively knew that this was nourishing for us somehow. If they threw a lot of vegetables and seasonings in a large pot of water, with a chicken, turkey or beef ribs, they knew that the result was healthy for us. Mothers’ intuition! Now we know that this is indeed the case. A slow cooking soup is medicinal, as well as delicious. When I think back on my childhood, I clearly remember so many kitchens filled with the aroma of delicious soups , simmering on the stoves for hours. The aroma filled the entire house. As women/mothers joined the work force, canned soups came in handy. It was better than no soup at all, but I think we’ve gone full circle and realize the benefits of homemade. Slow cookers have greatly helped us with this.
The past year or two, I can’t make enough bone broth. I’ve made so many delicious variations on soups that have delighted our taste buds, as well as cured a common cold or two. But I have to admit that thinking about fortifying my bones, hair and nails, and fighting inflammation has greatly influenced my desire. Healthy digestion doesn’t hurt the cause either. It’s a win/win situation……absolutely delicious, and so very, very good for us.
I’m going to share a recipe for beef bone broth, which I then turn into a hearty, mouth watering, and oh so healthy, beef with mushrooms and vegetable soup.
I make a huge pot or two, at one time, so that I can strain some for further use of the broth. You will find yourself with containers galore, but you can freeze them and defrost as you desire. Believe me, it won’t last long. They keep disappearing from my freezer!!
RECIPE: yields about 3 quarts
2 pounds bone-in beef short rib
2 1/2 pound beef shank or oxtail
1 1/2 pounds beef spare ribs, or any other cut of beef with bones you like
Beef bones…just any beef bones without meat, if you like.
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (*the vinegar extracts the minerals out of the bones into the water. Who knew?? I use Braggs as it is unfiltered and unpasteurized, but any will do the job)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, quartered and peeled
1 (14.5 ounce) can of tomatoes, whole, peeled or diced.
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch flat parsley
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1/4 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms
1 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced (they’re anti-viral, anti-tumor)
1 pound baby spinach
1 cup barley, faro, kasha or grain of choice, cooked.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place meat and bones in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, turning to coat, then brush all over with tomato paste. Roast until browned, 30 to 35 minutes. They don’t need to cook all the way through, but to just develop some color. (this can be done the day before)
- Put roasted meat and bones a 12 quart stockpot and add vinegar and enough water to cover by 3 inches (about 6 quarts) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, uncovered for 2 to 3 hours. While simmering, you can skim off the fat if any forms on top.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except the mushrooms, spinach, and grain of choice. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for a minimum of 3 hours, and for as many hours as possible, adding the mushrooms when it has 2 hours left to go. I have let this simmer for as many as 10 hours, adding a little bit more water if needed.
- Remove meat and bones with a slotted spoon or tongs. **If you want some plain broth, at this point just strain, by putting the broth through a fine mesh strainer and store in heatproof containers.
- At this point, after removing the meat, I take the meat off the bones, shredding it. I add the spinach, and the shredded meat back into the pot, and cook through for 10 minutes or so, until spinach wilts.
- Add cooked grains.
- Plate and pass grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- *NOTE: Please go back in the archives to my chicken soup recipe. To enhance the benefits of bone broth, take the chicken out when cooked, and remove meat from the carcass and save for later. Return the carcass to the pot, and cook for as many more hours as you can. Then add the meat and faro into the pot. You can also do this part on another day. Just save the bare bones and some of the stock, add more water and seasonings and cook for several hours.