Last fall I had lunch with a friend at the delightful Charlotte and the Quail cafe at the Gardens at HCP. The food was delicious (what else would you expect from the team that also has created Nourish) and I was encouraged to get a warm drink of “bone broth” to accompany my meal. This was not a term I had ever heard before but I have since come to learn that it’s kind of this trendy thing. (Yet again I’m behind the times I guess!) The broth was good and I was happy to hear that it had some health benefits but I didn’t really think much about bone broth for some weeks after that.
Fast forward to this month and my acupuncturist (whom I haven’t seen for years but returned to recently to get some help with an annoying bout of excema on my hand and other issues) mentioned that bone broth would be a good thing for me to have right now. I stopped by the wonderful Glenwood Meats in Langford and cheerfully admitted to the clerk that I wanted to make bone broth and had no idea what kind of bones to buy! Luckily they are great at Glenwood and soon I was going home with $11 worth of three beef marrow bones, cut neatly so they would fit in my slow cooker.
My friend whom I had shared the original lunch with sent me the recipe she uses for bone broth but, admittedly, I decided to use this one from Bon Appetit instead because the idea of roasting the bones for more flavour (which wasn’t featured in her recipe) really appealed to me.
First I boiled the bones in a stockpot to get rid of some of the impurities:
It was recommended to throw out that water, which I did.
Then I spread the bones out on a roasting pan and put them in the oven at 425 F as recommended:
During the roasting stage the bones began to look like they were sitting in clear water but I think it was actually collagen coming out of the bones because it was sort of thick – so strange!
Since the recipe didn’t mention how long to roast the bones I ended up putting them in for two timed sections of 30 minutes each, so an hour in total. And an added “bonus” event for excitement happened at the end: when I opened the oven to take them out I discovered that my smoke detectors are still working fine as the voice audibly rang out “Fire! Fire!” and I was treated with an ear piercing alarm! So strange, nothing on the pan was even burned…
Next it was back in the pot for those bones to be accompanied by some old garlic that I had kicking around and half a big onion, chopped:
I brought that mixture to a boil and then let it simmer on the stove for about three hours. Then I transferred it to my big slow cooker to simmer even more overnight. Sadly I got the worst sleep ever as the whole house smelled like bone broth by that point – even my pillow! The smell was mostly a good one, but smelling meat all night long quickly became much too much. In the morning it was looking a nice medium brown so I pulled it out of the slow cooker (oh to get rid of that smell!) and put it into mason jars to store in the freezer (after I cooled it).
The moment of truth came this morning as I finally got up the gumption to try the broth. I slopped some of the gelatinous mess from a mason jar into a mug (don’t let this turn your stomach), warmed it up in the microwave and drank about a 1/2 cup for breakfast. I did add some salt for a little more flavour, but overall it tasted pretty good. A little weird for breakfast when I usually have oatmeal or cereal though!
I’m not sure I’ll make bone broth all the time, mostly because of the length of time it took to do all this and the “meat smell permeating the house for hours” issue, but I’m looking forward to using it in recipes and as a sipper just for my own health. It was fun to try something new, sucking out all the marrow of life…