Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bone Broth: Why I Turned My Kitchen into a Bone Broth Factory

I wanted to share with my readers something that I am passionate about.

It isn't beautiful.

It isn't a shows-stopper.

But it is a game-changer in the kitchen, and for your health.

I'm talking about broth.


Yes, broth.  Bone broth, that magical stuff, nourishment in a bowl, made from nothing but bones and water.  If you have never made your own broth, this kitchen routine might seem elementary, but really, it is the backbone of your kitchen.

See what I did there?

I promise to stop.  Maybe.

So, What is Bone Broth?  

Meat broth, like chicken or beef broth, is made from simmering meaty pieces in water - think submerging a whole chicken in water, and simmering it for an hour.  Bone broth is made from simmering the leftover bones, the carcass.  There might be a little leftover protein clinging to your bones, but that is all.  You can use any kind of bones - lamb, beef, chicken.

The only ingredients needed for bone broth are:  bones and water.  A few vegetables - onions, celery, leeks - can also go in the pot, if you like.  A splash of acidity, wine or vinegar, helps release the minerals from the bones and gives extra depth to the flavor.

It's a Game-Changer

Broth is fundamental to traditional cuisine.  Cooks have long understood that nourishment does not end with the meat, but with the bones, and that bones, covered in water and simmered into a broth, is the beginning of everything else.  Sauces, soups, gravies, stews, the simmering liquid for grains and legumes and beans - a few ladles of bone broth add depth and flavor to all of your food.  Making your own homemade broths, rich with flavor and nutrients, you will transform all of the dishes you make.  The simplest of soups become special, the every day pot of rice, delicious.  If you want to really elevate your meals, start making your own broths.

Sadly, in much of the Middle East today, this wonderful practice of broth-making has been replaced by store-bought bouillon cubes.  Most home cooks keep a steady stock of these cubes in their pantry and flavor their rices, soups and sauces with a cube or two of these salt-laden and MSG-packing cubes.  Not only is this unhealthy, but every dish tastes the same, with the same flat salty-savory taste left in your mouth.  Here in the United States, bouillon cubes have largely given way to shelf-stable cartons of broth and stock, which are admittedly tastier, but still far short in flavor and nourishment.

It's Really, Really Good for You 

Bone broth has made a serious comeback this year.  Step aside kale and quinoa, 2015 is the year of bone broth.  Bone broth is popping up everywhere you  look, from bone broth takeout windows in New York City to bone broth bowls, served at Panera Bread restaurants around the country.  What is this health craze all about?

Bones, when simmered for long periods of time, release protein-rich collagen and gelatin, and minerals, all of which support gut, bone, joint and skin health.  When properly prepared, the bone broth contains minerals from not just the bones, the marrow and the cartilage, so that the broth is particularly rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium.  A good, long simmered bone broth will actually gel once cool, showing that it contains plenty of the prized gut-healing gelatin.  Gelatin is not a complete protein in itself, but contains amino acids which help the body to more fully use any other proteins ingested.  So, gelatin-rich meat broths are particularly favored in traditional cuisines where people could not afford to include large amounts of meats in their diets.

People who are interested in healing their gut, soothing or preventing a cold, or building better bone health are drinking their way to a better future. You can read more about the health benefits of bone broth here and here and here.

My Broth Factory

When I started my journey into traditional cooking a number of years ago, one of the first foods that I became serious about was bone broth.  I started buying all of my meats on the bone, and realized that one of the most important things I could do for my families health was to skip the grocery store cartons of broth in favor of the nutrient-rich and healing homemade bone broth.  I have been surprised, as well, at how easy it has been streamline this practice in my kitchen, so that I have a steady and simple way to keep a large supply of broth in my kitchen.  We have found it to be a healing, economical, and even a meditative practice. 

Tomorrow's post is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make bone broth.  I hope you will check it out!


  1. OK, now I know why my broth was jelly like... I had to boil some chicken and had read about saving the broth for soups... it was my first time I saved that water and refrigerated it. When I took it out to add to a curry, I saw it had become a piece of jelly.. I toppled the whole thing ...and thought I was doing something wrong.. you just cleared it all! Thank you for sharing and yes I will continue to make broth.. I hate those bullions!

    1. Yes, if it gels, that means you did it right! If it doesn't gel, just reduce your broth further. Happy broth making!!

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  2. Hi Jessica, I've been reading your blog for almost 2years now and I really enjoy your posts.
    Many of the recipes you post or talk about remind me dearly of the food I grew up eating, Lebanese food, and specifically recipes from South Lebanon where both my parents come from.

    I'm glad you chose to write about bone broth this time since it is one of the pillars of any kitchen/cuisine. I do prepare my bone broth and reduce it down to almost 10-15% of the original volume and keep the dense reduction frozen for any future use. Whenever making soup or chicken/rice pilaf I just add this reduction To intensify the flavour and add all those nutritional goodies :)

    I'd like to share this article if you don't mind on the page of my restaurant in Vancouver, BRITISH COLUMBIA, to highlight your blog and this topic and to remind our followers that we use our in-store made bone broth.

    Please let me know if you agree.

    Thank you and keep the good posts coming..

    1. Please, feel free to share! And can you link back to my Facebook page? I'd love to see your page. Thanks and I'm happy to hear that you make your own bone broth in your kitchen! If I lived closer, I would frequent your restaurant.


Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!