The soup pot was once the king of the kitchen.
Since ancient times, cooks all over the world have made broths, stocks and soups from bits of meat, bones, the ends of vegetables, herbs and spices. The resulting broths were the nutritious and flavorful foundations for sauces and stews, or were consumed on their own as curative tonics.
You’ve likely noticed that the wellness world these days is abuzz with the myriad health benefits of regularly consuming bone broth. Bone broth is traditionally made by slow simmering the bones of an animal — usually chicken, beef, or fish — for 12 to 48 hours. This slow simmer extracts collagen, amino acids and minerals from the bones into the broth, resulting in a high protein, highly nutritious soup.
Many of us don’t have time in our daily lives to simmer a broth for 24 hours. A shelf-stable bone stock or broth product may not offer all of the benefits of a homemade one, but it will add a big boost of protein to any dish without adding a lot of calories. A typical bone broth includes around 14 grams of protein for only 60 calories — that's the equivalent of half of a chicken breast.
Bone broth — homemade or store bought — can be used as the base for any soup or stew. It also makes a great warming replacement for coffee when you need a burst of energy. To boost the flavor and nutritional value of a sipping broth, try adding any of the following, or try combining a few at a time.
- 1 clove of raw garlic, grated
- juice of one lime or lemon
- 1 small knob of grated fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon of dried turmeric
- a splash of cold pressed vegetable juice
- fresh herbs like rosemary, cilantro, basil or parsley
- 1 small knob of grated fresh ginger
- a spoon full of raw fermented vegetables or kimchi
- a splash of apple cider vinegar
- sea salt flakes and lots of fresh ground pepper
Bone stock is a concentrated version of bone broth and is designed to use as a flavorful base for sauces and gravies as opposed to a sipping broth. It has a much darker, richer flavor profile. Here are some ideas for incorporating bone stock into your repertoire.
Heat canned beans or re-heat leftovers in a saucepan with a splash of bone stock to retain moisture in the dish and add protein and flavor.
Sautee garlic and shallots in olive oil until translucent. Add bone stock and a splash of white wine or apple cider vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is reduced by half. Now add your favorite vegetable(s) — broccoli, kale, green beans, asparagus, peas, or anything in season and cook until just heated through and still bright green.
If you are interested in bone broths and stocks, I highly recommend you try making one yourself sometime. That said, it never hurts to have a flavorful, nutritious, protein-rich resource in your kitchen cabinet.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont