[Photograph: Henry Fong]
Close readers of this site already know that adding lots of meaty bones to a pot with water will inevitably lead to a rich, gelatin-filled stock. Michelle Tam takes this idea even further in her recipe for bone broth in her new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo. In it, she simmers an assortment of bones with fish sauce (for umami) and apple cider vinegar, which is said to help extract minerals from the bones. Tam also provides directions for cooking the stock on the stove, in a slow cooker, and in a pressure cooker, so the recipe can be adapted to any schedule—this is especially helpful considering that she calls for a full 12 to 24 hours of simmering on the stovetop. After all of that time, the bones will be practically falling apart and the stock incredibly flavorful. Paleo enthusiasts drink the bone broth on its on as a restorative meal, but the broth works well in all kinds of soups and stews, as well as the chili we’ll be making tomorrow.
Why I picked this recipe: Do any reading about the Paleo diet, and you’ll run across countless recipes for bone broth.
What worked: I’ve got a low-tech kitchen, so I simmered my bone broth on the stovetop for a long 24 hours. But I didn’t mind the long wait, since the broth scented my apartment with a wonderful savory aroma.
What didn’t: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: I used a mix of oxtail, short ribs, chicken feet, and pigs feet in my broth. They were all easily available at my (admittedly awesome) grocery store. If you can’t find quite the same assortment of bones, you can use chicken backs and wings. The mushrooms, ginger, and garlic are all listed as optional. If you want an all-purpose broth, you may want to leave out the ginger. Paleo-friendly fish sauce is any brand that contains only anchovies and salt (Red Boat is Tam’s choice).
Reprinted with permission from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong. Copyright 2013. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Makes 8 cups
- Total time:1 to 24 hours
- 2 1/2 pounds assorted beef, chicken, and/or pork bones
- 2 medium leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and cut in half, or 1 small yellow onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
- 8 cups water, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons Paleo-friendly fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (optional)
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick coins
- Kosher salt or Celtic sea salt
Place the bones and vegetables in a large (at least 6-quart) stockpot, slow cooker, or pressure cooker, depending on your desired method of cooking.
Add water to the pot, making sure the bones and vegetables are fully submerged. If you’re using a pressure cooker, don’t fill it beyond two-thirds capacity.
Pour in the fish sauce and apple cider vinegar. If desired, add dried shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and/or ginger to the broth. Then, cook using one of the three methods below:
If cooking the broth in a stock pot: Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off the scum, and turn down the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook, covered, for 12 to 24 hours, or until the bones are soft. Check occasionally and add more water if needed to keep the bones and vegetables submerged. Cooking on the stovetop is the traditional way to make a pot of bone broth, but it takes a lot of babysitting. Patience is key!
If cooking the broth in a slow cooker: Cover and set to cook on low for 8 to 24 hours. (You can actually simmer it for days; some say that the longer you cook your broth, the more nutrient rich it becomes.) The advantage of using a slow cooker to make your broth is that you can leave the house without fear of burning it down to the ground. Still, you’ll have to wait a long time before you can sip on a mug of broth, so plan ahead.
If cooking the broth in a pressure cooker: Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and cook over high heat. Once it reaches high pressure, immediately turn the burner down to the lowest possible setting (“simmer” usually works) that will still maintain high pressure. Set a timer for 45 minutes, and when it goes off, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat. Release the pressure naturally, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve (or cheesecloth-lined colander) to filter out the bones, veggies, and any remaining scummy bits. Season with salt to taste. Drink up.
This broth will keep in a covered container for a few days in the refrigerator (or up to 6 months in the freezer). Once it’s chilled, the bone broth should transform into a jiggly gel—a sure sign that it’s loaded with gelatin. (And don’t fret—it’ll return to its liquid state once it’s heated.)
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