Thursday, November 2, 2017

Broth Thyme

The weather outside is starting to get frightful, but you can make your kitchen delightful with a big batch of broth!  Chicken and beef broth are a staple in any kitchen, and so easy to make at home.  Add extra flavor to any savory recipe by adding broth in place of water.  Bone broth is great for your immune system because it heals your gut and aids in the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.  It is also beneficial for your hair, skin and nails because of all the gelatin in the bones.  Here is a great article about the health benefits of bone broth from Wellness Mama.  We go through a lot of broth in our house so I feel really lucky to have a steady, reliable and healthy source for both chicken and beef bones.  We sell them right on the Farm in our store!  We have soup chickens, whole roasters, and 8 piece cut-up chickens, as well as beef knuckles, joints, neck bones and marrow bones.  Check out our R-Farm products page for prices and availability.

There are many great recipes out there for stock and broth.  You can use a stockpot or your slow cooker.  You can cook it  for as little as four hours for stock, or let it go as long as 48 hours for a super rich, nutritious bone broth.  The key is finding a flavor profile you love and using bones from a reliable source.  You want bones that come from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones, fed a diet free from harmful fertilizers and pesticides and preferably grass-based.  For beef, you want to look for joints, knuckles, neck bones and marrow bones.  These will have minimal meat but maximum flavor.  For chicken, I recommend saving the carcass after a meal.  Just pop it in a freezer bag after dinner and throw it in the freezer.  When you have two or three saved you are ready to make some broth!  You can also use whole soup chickens.  If making stock, boil the entire bird with all your other ingredients and pick the meat off when your stock is finished.  Use it in soup right away or freeze it for later.  For bone broth, you will want to roast the bird whole, pick the meat off and then make your broth.  When your broth is finished, put it quart sized jars and freeze it, can it, or pour some into ice cube trays for individual size portions.  I usually make about six quarts at a time because we fly through it.  Sometimes I don't even get a chance to freeze or can it because I use it in EVERYTHING!

Photo courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

Here are some of my favorite recipes for chicken stock and beef bone broth.  The chicken recipe is easy to turn into bone broth by using the bones you saved and increasing the cooking time to about 8 hours (or longer if you want).  Also, don't be afraid to save your veggie scraps for your stock!  The middle of the celery stalk, the bits of onion leftover when you only need half, and the ends of carrots and parsnips can all be frozen and saved for stock.  They might look a bit mushy after freezing, but your broth won't care, I promise!

Experiment with different herbs and veggies until you find a flavor combination that you love.  Have fun and happy cooking!