Both camps advocate regular consumption because it turns out that sticking animal bones in a pot and boiling them for umpteen hours results in a nourishing tonic full of gelatin, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals.
Every Sunday we roast a chicken and the carcass goes into the pot. Twelve hours later (you can simmer your broth for up to 48 hours if you so wish) it’s a bubbling, aromatic, dark brown nectar.
If you’re shrugging your shoulders about now and thinking “huh, big deal” then fair enough, you know how to make broth.
But I want to share a few words of wisdom on how to take your broth to the next level.
Those little added touches you might not have tried that will help make it tastier and healthier.
1. Add some cloves.
I toss a few of these in along with some black peppercorns and the result is a spicy, flavourful broth with an extra kick. Also cloves are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and great for the immune system. If you think you’re getting the latest cold/flu bug then cloves in your broth are a must.
2. Sprinkle in seaweed.
I made fish broth once. It stank and tasted foul. However it was so full of healthy iodine and extremely good for the thyroid that I forced myself to choke it down.
While it’ll be a cold day in hell before I boil up some dead fish again, I still want that iodine kick so I get it by adding edible seaweed to my chicken broth. I add a few strips of dried dulse (kelp would also be a good choice) to the bones right at the start, before it comes to a boil, and let the weed do its thing.
You might not be able to taste it but your thyroid knows it’s there, and is thanking you.
3. Vinegar is vital
….if you want maximum nutrition from your stock. This is because vinegar helps leach out minerals from the bones. I use about two tbsps per gallon of broth. Any vinegar will do so choose your favourite. I usually go for apple cider vinegar but you could experiment with balsamic or even red wine vinegar. Apparently plain white vinegar results in a bitter broth so perhaps stay away from that one.
4. Dem bones
While my chicken roasting always happens on a Sunday (what can I say? I’m a Type A creature of habit), we will occasionally have some thighs or drumsticks during the week.
When we do, I simply freeze the leftover bones and, when Sunday rolls around, toss them in the pot along with the more recent carcass. The more bones, the better your broth because more bones mean more gelatin, more minerals and more glucosamine so don’t let any go to waste. Your body needs them!
5. Mix it up
Your broth can be a great opportunity to mix it up with some interesting flavour combos. Although lamb is not my favourite meat (it’s a bit too gamey for a recovering vegetarian), we had some good quality New Zealand stuff in the freezer that I dug out one night and made into a delicious herby roast.
Afterwards the bones went into the pot for broth. To take the edge off and make the resulting broth more palatable, I threw a tbsp of dried rosemary leaves in there too. It worked. Other pairings that I’ve had great success with are chicken bones and fresh tarragon and chicken with cilantro leaves. Have a favourite herb? Throw it in.
6. Go heavy on the garlic and onions
This is especially pertinent if you’re making your broth to ward off the cold/flu as garlic and onion are legendary immune system boosters. I use at least two large white onions in my broth and pretty much a whole bulb of garlic. You don’t need to worry about peeling it carefully. I usually just score the sides of the bulb, smash it a bit and chuck it in.
Weigh in: Everyone has their own way of making their broth, if you’re a veteran of the art please share your tips in the comments. If you’re not on the broth train yet, why not? Join us!