For centuries, peoples of all walks of life have been boiling bones. Even before the emergence of broth bars in metropolitan cities and the touting of broth benefits through popular magazine articles and blog posts, men and women on all continents have been doing what is now considered in foodie fashion as an intuitive means to fortify their bodies. They have been sipping.
Long before the internet made sharing this intel possible, ancient civilizations around the globe turned to bone broth for healing. This highly mineralized and collagen-rich brew encourages tissue repair, bone strengthening, joint mobility, gut lining integrity, digestion optimization, boosted immunity, infection resistance, and the list goes on. I can only imagine they must have also witnessed the aesthetic benefits of sipping such as more lustrous hair, glowing skin, stronger bones, and skin elasticity and tone. How fortunate are we to be the down-winders of their nourishing traditions and wisdom.
Making bone brew, which in the culinary world is called stock, was one of the first skills I honed as a chef. It is a mega tool in the toolkit of cheffery––we use it in sauce reductions, as the liquid base for soups and stews, to swell risottos and other rice dishes, and to moisten casseroles. A chef takes making stock quite seriously. Bones boil low and slow all day with aromatics and herbs, and the strained liquid is finished with sea salt to deepen the flavor. Rather than composting scraps like the skins of onions and garlic, stems from fresh picked rosemary and thyme, the nubs of carrots and mushrooms, and rigid ends of celery, we reserve them for stock simmering, throwing them into a large pot with land animal and fish bones that have been awaiting their reduction.
I make a batch of stock for cooking and sipping a few times per month. Half is reserved in the refrigerator for more immediate use, and the other is transferred to a freezable vessel for future access. A small cup a day can help keep the doctor away.
Each batch makes approx. 8 cups
2 tablespoons grass fed butter or ghee
2 yellow onions (with skins), quartered
6 garlic cloves (with skins), smashed
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, smashed
4 medium celery stalks (with delicate leaves), cut into large chunks
4 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 large bay leaves
1 organic, grass-fed chicken carcass with skin (all meat removed)
10-12 cups water
1-2 tablespoons sea salt
In a large stock pot, warm butter or ghee over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger, and soften for four to five minutes. Add celery and carrots, and heat for another five minutes. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs, peppercorns, dill seed, and bay leaves. Stir to coat with butter or ghee for one minute.
Add chicken carcass and press down into the softened vegetables. Make room for the bones to rest amidst them.
Pour in water, and over medium-high heat bring to a very gentle boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least four hours, and up to twelve.
Cool to safely handle and remove all solids using a skimmer and tongs. Salt stock to desired taste, and transfer to storage vessels.