Broth is healing for many reasons, but mainly due to its structure. Proteins are already broken down into easily absorbed amino acids, giving the body a break from this process of digestion. Gelatin from bones is also released into the simmer liquid, an excellent anti-inflammatory and gut healing property. Important trace minerals are part of a good broth as well, making this an overall highly nutritive base for any meal, in addition to its incredible depth of flavor. Any good soup or sauce leans heavily on a well prepared broth. The difference between homemade versions and store bought (other than the obvious) is in the bones. Manufactures of boxed versions rely on hydrolyzed fats and proteins to create flavor instead of extracting it from real bones, slowly simmered with care.
For the record, broth is a substance made from simmered bones, vegetables, water and meat, whereas stock is slightly more crude, utilizing only water, possibly vegetables and bones minus the meat. A broth or a stock however must always contain bones.
As modern mealtime has been shaped to satisfy busy lifestyles, bones have nearly been swept from the dinner table. The majority of meat cuts sold today are boneless and skinless for convenience sake. This is a shame, since bones are the secret weapon to prideful home cooks and chefs seeking flavorful dishes. Without bones, we forfeit the nutritive benefits as well.
By seeking bone-in cuts from your local farmer or butcher, you not only waste less, but gain more for your money. After you have enjoyed the meat, the bones can then simmer in the stock pot to create the base for your next meal. If broth making seems daunting, you can relax. The stove nearly does all the work. Here are the steps for an excellent chicken broth. Once you are familiar with the process, experiment with fish bones and heads, and bones from larger animals like lamb and beef. You can brown bones from larger animals in the oven prior to broth making for increased flavor and gorgeous color.
Homemade Chicken Broth 101:
*Purchase a whole, pastured chicken. Roast it and enjoy.
*Pick off the majority of the meat and skin.
*Place entire carcass in a large soup pot and cover bones with cool water.
*Add a couple celery stalks, half an onion and a few garlic cloves (optional)
*Add a splash or white wine, lemon juice or white vinegar (the acidity will help pull gelatin and minerals from the bones).
*Place pot over moderately low heat and slowly bring to a simmer. If you bring liquid up to temperature too quickly, it will cause the proteins to become suspended in the cooking liquid resulting in a cloudy broth.
*Once heat bubbles rise to the surface with some consistency, lower heat to lowest setting.
*Allow to simmer a full day or overnight.
*Skim any foam which rises to the top of the cooking liquid.
*Season to taste with sea salt
*Strain contents into a large bowl and chill.
*Skim fat from top (optional)
Broth can then be stored in freezer safe containers our used immediately for soups, sauces and cooking liquid.
A Recipe for Chicken Soup: (you choose the proportions)
*homemade chicken broth
*leftover chicken meat
*fresh ground black pepper
*cooked rice or noodles (optional)
*flat leaf parsley, stems removed, chopped
The key to a good chicken soup is to keep it simple.
Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Coat with olive oil or butter. Add onions. Once fragrant, add garlic, carrots, and celery. Saute until softened. Add chicken meat. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pour as much broth as you deem necessary. Reduce heat to low and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Season broth to taste. Remove from heat. Add cooked rice or noodles and chopped parsley.
Divide into bowls and enjoy.