I managed to lay my hands on an exciting new book that is hot hot hot off the press. From the title, front cover, recipes and photographs this was a book that I knew that I would instantaneously love. Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas, published by Jacqui Small and photographed by Lisa Linder, does what it says on the tin. It shows the reader how to cook all manner of broths from ‘classic beef bone to ham hock, white fish bone to vegetable top and tail broth.
Once you’ve decided which broth to prepare you can then use that broth in one of the many ‘soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, rice and grains’ recipes further on in the book.
Simple but wonderfully user friendly. Unlike many of the cookery books being published at the moment Broth consists of 50 recipes (instead of the ubiquitous 100) with a photograph accompanying each recipe. Joy of joys! There is enough to whet the appetite and to encourage you to try the recipes that having 50 as opposed to a 100 options is irrelevant.
Now cooking broth is nothing new. I recall my grandmother and mother for that matter regularly preparing broths, or stocks as they are also called. Whist some are a labour of love not all take hours to prepare – chicken and white fish bone broths being a good example. In the last couple of years though boiling your bones and making your own broth has become more talked about and dare I say ‘trendy’. This has been largely helped along by cooks such as the glamorous Hemsley sisters, whose motto is quite simply ‘boil your bones’.
The reason for this upsurge in making our own broth is down to the healthy qualities and nutrients that are found within the bones themselves. Nutritionists (such as Edgson who has been a practicing nutritional therapist for over 20 years) have given the nod to the wider populous that bone broth is a tool for gut healing and giving us an inner glow or as Edgson and Thomas put it broths are ‘nutritional powerhouses that contain the building blocks of good health’. As such more and more of us are pausing before throwing away the chicken carcass and instead putting it in a deep pan along with some celery, onion, carrot, garlic, pepper, salt, a bay leaf and covered with water and then simmer for an hour or so and you will have a magnificent chicken broth packed full of nutrients for the body.
So ‘Broth’ is both timely and a much needed book to help steer us with ideas once we have made the broth but are unsure of what to do with it. The first few chapters elaborate on the health benefits of broth and effectively set the scene, both concise and readable, they focus on the salient points keeping the interest of the reader.
They have then created a chart which lists the nutrients, what they are required for and then coloured dots representing the different broths that the nutrients are in. Further on in the book the recipes then have one of two coloured dots, showing which broth is used in the recipe. This is a great idea, however I almost feel that one extra page outlining the broths and then which recipes correspond to that broth and the page of the recipe would have been helpful.
I opted to make a combination of the classic beef bone broth and the rich marrow bone broth – the one on the right (although as you can see from the photo above I also had a white fish bone broth on the stove at the time). My butcher only had bone marrow and not T-bone or knuckle, otherwise I would have stuck pretty much to the classic beef bone recipe. A few differences I made were that I used red onions, leeks and bay leaves, as specified in the bone marrow broth but omitted the bouquet garni, although the fresh herbs that I added are pretty similar to a dried bouquet garni. I also did not add paprika/cayenne pepper.
The result approximately 24 hours later was a delicious tasting broth. Part of the broth I used in a recipe that I will share with you next week from the very same book. It’s a good one so make sure to come back and visit then.
I am curious on how many of my readers make their own broths already. Please please let me know by leaving a comment below. If you do make them, which ones do you typically make? For those who do not, have I convinced you to try making one? The book ‘Broth’ retails at £20 and I think is a great addition to your cookbook library, I am certainly glad it is part of mine. Our culture for the past couple of decades has been dominated by speedy, convenience foods but the realisation has set in that this is not good for our health and long term wellbeing – as seen by the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. We need to take a step back from our busy lives and invest time to create good nutritional food and preparing homemade broths is one way we can all do this for our families. They freeze well so separate them into a number of portions ready to use over the months ahead.
(left is the white fish bone and the right is my bone marrow broth)
A combination of Classic Beef Bone and Bone Marrow Broth
adapted from Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas
Makes approx 1.2 litres/2 pints
1.6kg beef bones (if you can use T-bone or knuckle, if not bone marrow like mine)
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium red onions, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 mixed bunch of fresh thyme, sage and marjoram tied together by string
2.25 litres/4 pints water and more during the cooking
4 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/375 F/gas mark 5. Spread the bones out on a large roasting tray and cook in the oven for 45 minutes allowing the fat to drain out of the bones. Drain the fat and set aside.
- Place all the vegetables and bones in a large pan and cover with water so that the bones are completely covered.
- Bring the pan to the boil and then turn down and simmer for approximately 24 hours or longer if you can (the longer the broth the richer it will be). Make sure to turn off the pan at night for safety. You want to top up the water regularly to ensure it always covers the bones.
- Allow the broth to cool and then strain through a muslin and sieve into a large bowl. Then transfer to freezer proof storage containers. The broth will last for up to 5 days in the fridge and 5 months in the freezer.
Yes it takes time, but it is very easy to do as you can see.
Note: I found marjoram hard to find so left it out. You can always replace the fresh herbs with a bouquet garni!