The latest word to hit the food world is ‘bone broth’ which you may think of as the same as good old meat stock (e.g. beef/ chicken). However, there is a bit of a difference between the stock you buy at the supermarket and proper bone broth. Bone broth is made from big, cheap bones which are simmered for ages and ages (we’re talking at least 24 hours here!) so that you end up with liquid gold. It is the healthiest thing to ever exist because all of the nutrients from inside the bone have leached out into the broth. This has nothing in common with stock cubes! Broth may not look the best but it sure as hell is good for your insides! A slow cooker is amazing for making bone broth as you can turn it on and carry on with your day (or two!).
The reason why everyone wants chicken noodle soup when they are sick is because of the chicken bone broth. As well as being warming, bone broth contains heaps of nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals that fast track you back to good health. Your gut and immune system are touching each other so when you promote good gut bacteria with nourishing food, your immune system gets all the benefits and you don’t get sick! Bone broth also contains collagen and keratin that are so good for your digestion and skin. Collagen makes your skin more elastic which is really helpful if you have any cellulite issues!
It is so cheap and easy to boil up your leftover bones that you would normally just throw away. You can use bones from a whole chicken, chicken drumsticks/ thigh bones, beef/ lamb bones or a mixture of beef and chicken bones but you could just make a vegetarian broth. If you go to your local butcher they may give you a bag of bones for free – score!
It doesn’t matter if there is a little bit of meat leftover on the bones that you are using because the meat will give the broth the most flavour. You can literally chuck in any vege scraps and herbs to add more flavour but the broth will be just as delicious if you only use bones and water.
After I had made chicken bone broth for the first time I was pretty chuffed with myself because a) it was onion/ garlic free, and b) I had a million and one things to use it for! Having IBS means that you have to avoid all of the bought stock powders/ cubes/ gels because they are pretty much just onion/ garlic bombs. Some of the bought versions also contain additives such as sugar, wheat flour and maltodextrin (artificial sugar), and did I mention a heap of salt?
The list of things to do with your own bone broth is endless! It can be used instead of water to cook brown rice or quinoa and you can turn either into a risotto with extra liquid. You can also use the broth to make soups such as Vietnamese Pho Bo, curries, stews or to poach chicken in.
Make sure that you add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into the pot because the bones release their vitamins and minerals better in an acidic environment. The same thing happens in human bones but this is not a good thing because it causes osteoporosis when your body is too acidic (from eating too much processed food not from eating too many lemons!) – see my post on it here.
- Put the bones and any other ingredients (e.g. celery leaves, carrot peelings, dried herbs) into a big pot and add enough water to cover everything by about 5 cm
- Add a splash of apple cider vinegar or some lemon juice
- Bring to the boil and simmer for as long as possible, ideally 24 hours. A slow cooker is perfect for this.
- Eat within 3 days or leave it to cool completely and freeze it
- Treat it like you are dealing with normal chicken so it shouldn’t be reheated or refrozen more than once. But if you have too much or not enough liquid you can just add more water or reduce it down on a high heat as needed.
- I recommend that you don’t add any salt to the pot before you boil the bones because you will probably end up eating double the salt once you cook with the liquid.
- If you get a layer of fat on the top of your broth once it has cooled down don’t throw the fat away! It is actually really good for you because it is like a gel that is good for your skin, joints, hair, nails and skin.
- You can use the fat instead of oil/ butter or you can just leave it in the broth and it will disappear when you reheat the liquid