The weather is now very cold and I start to crave, and make, broth. Since we did the GAPS Diet I have a bit of an addiction to the superfood elixir made by boiling the cheapest of the cheap cuts of meat in water. A truly frugal food with endless benefits. Many people have heard of bone broth and fewer of meat stock. The words broth and stock are often used very interchangeably and there are various different authors who use them differently. Both of them are water with bones boiled in it
On the GAPS Diet it is short-cooked meat stocks that are used to heal and seal the gut. These short-cooked broths, besides being super convenient to make, are much easier on the digestive and nervous system. They are lower in histamines and free glutamates than long-cooked bone broths and often richer in the more complex proteins like gelatine and chondroitin. Being lower in histamines and glutamates they are less likely to aggravate people with allergies or worsen neurological conditions such as depression, anxiety, epilepsy or autism. Whilst long-cooked bone broths do have more minerals in general, that is about their only advantage. Personally I almost only prepare meat stocks these days, probably as I’m a pretty lazy cook.
Making a good stock or broth remains a bit of an art, one that is being revived. It is important to start with raw bones, not previously cooked and to have some meat and soft tissues like cartilage still on the bones. The bones should be cut to expose any marrow they may contain to allow the goodness of the marrow to boil out of the bones in the cooking process. A mixture of marrow bones, joint bones and other bones is best. In the case of chicken, adding some chicken feet gives a lovely gelatine boost.
So here’s how I make broth, this recipe fills a 10l pot and produces five to six litres of broth:
5Kg grass-fed bones of beef, pork, mutton or venison or a mix of chicken parts such as necks, cut up chicken and feet
5 – 6l filtered water
5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 tsp unrefined salt such as Khoisan or Himalayan salt
5 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
A few twists of freshly ground black peppercorns
1 large carrot, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
- Place the bones into your pot, tightly packed. It is important to use a stainless steel or other non-toxic type of stock pot. Cover them in filtered water, it should be about 2cm over the level of the bones. It is fine to start with frozen or defrosted bones.
- Add the vinegar, stir gently and allow to stand for 30 minutes if you have the time. The vinegar will start extracting minerals from the bones as it stands.
- Bring the pot to the boil. As soon as it boils, skim off the foam and turn the heat down low so it just simmers. Check the time.
- Add the salt, dried thyme, bay leaves and freshly ground balck pepper and stir to incorporate.
- Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for about two hours, checking regularly and topping up with water if needed.
- Thinly slice the carrot and onion and add to the broth. Stir to incorporate.
- Simmer another one hour for chicken and two hours for beef / pork / mutton / venison.
- Remove the broth from the heat. Remove the bones from the broth with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Pour the broth through a sieve into the containers you wish to store it in. Glass mason jars work well for me, as does freezing it in muffin trays and then removing from trays and storing in a plastic bucket / bag. If you use mason jars, leave a good three to four centimetres open at the top of the jar and don’t seal the lid when you put in the the freezer, this prevents cracking.
- Allow the broth to cool to room temperature on the counter or stand in a sink / bath of cold water. Then refrigerate or freeze.
- Add your broth to soups, stews, mince, mash or just about anything you’re cooking to boost your whole family’s health.