The Crux of Cooking

The Crux of Cooking

During these cold winter months there are few dishes more satisfying than a hot bowl of soup to warm us from the inside out.   Most soups begin with a broth or stock base, a humble base of meat and bones, carrots, celery, parsley and lots of time.  Upon hours of simmering what you have is the start of culinary magic and the crux of cooking.    Today words like “broth” or “stock” are used interchangeably in many cookbooks, however there is a difference.    

Broth is made from boiling the meat with the bone (as in a whole chicken or cut up chicken pieces) and has a shorter cook time of 45 minutes to 2 hours.  When finished it is light in flavor, thin in texture and rich in protein. 

Stock is bone with some meat remnants still adhered to the bone and the bones are often roasted before simmering.   The result is a gelatinous texture, rich in minerals and gelatin.  As the cartilage of the bones breaks down during cooking it releases minerals and marrow.  Often with poultry, the neck, back and feet are added into to enhance the gelatinous texture, flavor and nutrition.   Stock has a longer cook time, around 12 hours. 

Bone broth is also a bone-based recipe with meat remnants, however it is cooked for a very long cook time, usually in excess of 24 hours.   The long cook time removes the minerals and nutrients from the bones, resulting in a highly nutritional broth.  It too has a gelatinous texture. 

Food matters, so let’s talk about the health benefits of this culinary tradition.  Broth, stock, and bone broth are easy for the body to digest, being an excellent source of bio-available nutrients.   They aids digestion, provides amino acids, helps to mitigate infections, are great for your skin, hair, nails and promotes a healthy gut.   Not to mention the amount of depth it adds in the flavor of the food. 

Collagen, when broken down form gelatin.  It’s rich in amino acids like glutamine (which supports a healthy inflammatory response), proline (which supports joint mobility and a health inflammatory response), glycine (which supports our body’s production of glutathione for blood sugar regulation and digestion). 

Minerals such as  calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur are present.   

It supports our immune system. 

A study of chicken soup (broth) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center wondered what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. Researchers found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. Also, research proves it can also boost the immune system and heal disorders like allergies, asthma and arthritis.  (https://draxe.com/nutrition/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/)

Proper preparation of this nutrient dense food is essential.   To begin, your source of meat is crucial.  The priority is pasture-raised, grass-fed and finished animals.  We are what we eat and the same goes for the animals that we consume.   For the most nutrient dense meat source, you’ll want to be extremely selective from the start.    Next, use organic vegetables and spices as they offer the greatest nutrient content thus attributing optimal sources for our body’s absorption.   Choose a non-chlorinated water such as spring water, reverse osmosis water, well water, or purified water.    Lastly, adding an acid like vinegar encourages the extraction of the minerals from you meat source.

Time rounds up your ingredient list.   If you’re looking to make stock or bone broth, utilizing your crock pot will allow you to fix-and-forget the cooking process while also conserving energy.   If you use the cooktop method, you’ll notice there will be a white scum that surfaces during the boiling process.   While this is not harmful, it doesn’t look desirable in your finished product so removing it is recommended.

Once finished, divide among quart or pint-sized glass mason jars and store in the refrigerator.   As it cools, you’ll see the how gelatinous your finished product is.   More than likely the fat will rise to the top and create a seal around your broth or stock, which will help contribute to the preservation of your broth, stock or bone broth. 

Next time you enjoy a whole roasted chicken or turkey, don’t throw away the bones.  Take just a few minutes to follow on the recipes below to create your own nutrient dense broth, stock or bone broth to boost your immune system, strengthen your gut health and enhance the flavor of your next recipe. 

Basic Broth Recipe

  1. Place the meaty bones in a large stock-pot and cover with filtered water.
  2. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes.  Skim and discard any white foam that surfaces. 
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Continue until meat is cooked, approximately 2-3 hours.
  4. Using a colander, strain the meat and bones to yield a delicious and nourishing broth. Add good quality salt (such as Himalayan, Celtic or REAL salt) and spices for flavor.
  5. Divide the broth into glass mason jars and refrigerate for up to 7 days or freeze for several months. 
  6. Reserve the bones to make in the next recipe.

CROCK POT BONE BROTH RECIPE

Bones from broth recipe

8 cups filtered water

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped (peeling isn’t necessary)

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

Fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Place all the ingredients (except parsley) into a large crock pot. 
  2. Turn on low and cook for 12-24 hours.   Add in parsley about 10 minutes before finished (to impart additional mineral ions into the broth).
  3. Strain the broth and discard the bones and veggies.  
  4. Store in glass in refrigerator for up to 7 days or freeze for several months. 
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