What to do with homemade bone broth and why you should be making it
Homemade bone broth is a staple in my kitchen. Whenever there are bones leftover from slow cooked beef dishes like osso bucco or a whole roast chicken, these go straight in the slow cooker to make a batch of bone broth. The thought of these bones, jam-packed with precious nutrients, going into land-fill is such a sad waste. Just like human bones, animal bones contain lots of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other essential minerals, as well as collagen and gelatin, which are great for digestion, gut health, inflammation, thyroid, hair, skin and nails. By cooking these bones for a long period of time in water with some apple cider vinegar, all these nutrients are leached from the bones into the water, leaving you with bones that will crumble in your hand and a rich, nutritious broth.
A slow cooker is your best friend when making broth (I leave mine on all day and all night), but bone broth can also be made on the stove or in the oven. I simply put my leftover bones, 50ml of apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover the bones in the slow cooker and cook on low temperature for between 10 and 72 hours (the longer the better!). You can add leftover vegetables, herbs, celery tops, peppercorns etc, but usually I simply do the basic recipe. Once cooked, strain the bones out and your stock is ready for use.
But here’s the part I sometimes struggle with – I’ve got all this beautiful, nutritious stock, but what to do with it? Sure, you can lightly salt it and drink it as is, but it will take me a while to go through the litres of stock in my freezer at that rate. Another great option is making a soup; my cauliflower, pancetta and lentil soup is full of flavour and very satisfying, but it’s not the most lunch-box friendly option (unless you’ve got a great flask like these ones).
For chicken stock, my absolute favourite way is using it to make risotto. The rice absorbs all of the delicious and nutritious stock, making it an easy family-friendly way to go through 1L of stock at a time. My current favourite risotto is my roasted garlic and pumpkin risotto from my cookbook ‘Quick Fix: Every Occasion’.
The flavour of beef stock is a lot stronger than that of the chicken version, and therefore is best suited to punchier dishes like curry. A super quick and simple dish I love to make (and usually have all of the ingredients on hand) is curry rice. We eat it as a quick weeknight dinner and also pack it in lunchboxes to take to work as it still tastes great cold. Add some cooked meat, spinach, Greek yoghurt, cucumber or sultanas if available, but tastes great as is.
For more information on bone broth, check out this article by Sally Fallon Morell http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful/