Monday, December 28, 2015

How to Make Nourishing Beef Bone Broth


Bone broth is definitely all the rage these days, however, this food staple has been around for ages. Cooking the bones of animals along with a variety of vegetables creates a nourishing and extremely flavorful base from which you can create rich-tasting and satisfying soups and stews. Yes bone broth has a small amount of minerals and some easily digested amino acids, but it also has something called umami.

Umami is part of the five tastes along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. It's a meaty flavor you get from bone broths, some hard cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, and other fermented foods. It's the taste that makes you go "ahhhh" after a good meal, helping to create pleasure in eating and a satisfaction with your meal that leads to satiety.

I like to cook beef bone broth in the wintertime because of the long cooking time. When I make beef bone broth I usually make a large batch in my 12-quart stockpot and cook it all day for about 3 days on a low simmer and then set the pot on my garage floor to cool during the night, then bring it back in the next morning, adding back in water that was lost through evaporation. I don't have a slow cooker large enough to fit this recipe! During this long cooking time, the collagen matrix in the bones begins to break down into free amino acids, making the broth a good source of glycine and proline. Free glycine  is very beneficial because it can to bind to toxic chemicals and pull them out of the body in a Phase 2 liver detoxification reaction called glycination. Glycine also supports the production of glutathione (the body's primary antioxidant) and helps to rebuild collagen within our own bone structure. The acids (vinegar or wine) added to the broth during cooking also break down the meaty parts of the bone, freeing some additional amino acids. These free amino acids in the broth can be very beneficial for those with weak or compromised digestion. Oftentimes people with impaired digestion are deficient in amino acids, so bone broths can provide a quick route back to health.

If you have an autoimmune condition, have adrenal fatigue, have food or environmental allergies, have poor digestion, or have a child or toddler who is pale or malnourished ("failure to thrive" children") then consider adding bone broth into your weekly meal planning.

Look for organic, pastured beef knuckle and marrow bones at your local Farmer's Market or health food store (they can often be found in the freezer section). I like to roast the bones in the oven first before making the broth. This creates both a richer flavor and helps to remove some of the excess fat.

I hope you enjoy this nourishing beef bone broth recipe (also called beef stock)! I like to use it as a base for lentil and vegetable soups, beef stew, and minestrone soup! My Nourishing Meals cookbook has plenty of soup and stew recipes where this bone broth can be used if you need any recipe inspiration!