Time to dust off the slow cooker
Greetings Seekers of Wellness.
I love this time of the year when the leaves turn, we need to pull up the doona during the night and thoughts turn to fragrant slow cooked foods.
As I've come to understand and appreciate how much work our microbiomes do for us, there's no better way to help it along during the cold and flu season than by giving it a nourishing drink! I'm talking bone broth - you've probably heard lots about it by now, but it is such a vital part of the gut health piece that I can't let the season start without introducing some broth into your kitchens.
Put simply, bones from happy animals (that's free range chickens and pasture fed animals) contain lots of wonderful minerals and compounds like gelatin, glutamine, cartlidge and marrow which are very powerful nutrient dense elements. Our guts need and love these nutrients to help restore and reline the mucosal environment, which is easily destroyed due to stress, alcohol, drugs, lifestyle, sugar...I could keep going but you get the idea.
On top of this, the slow cooking of these nutrients allows enzymes in the meat, bones and vegetables to be extracted and retained with minimal detriment to their healing properties. The extra bonus is that the cheaper cuts are the best for this very thing! Think shanks, cheeks, shins, neck and chuck cuts.
It smells awesome. It's bloody delicious too!
I love to make a batch up over the weekend and then use it over the week, in sauces, stocks, add it pan cooked veges, substitute it for water or other liquids and of course - drink it straight with some salt and pepper...trying to cut back on coffee? Bone broth is your new best friend.
So without further ado, dust off your slow cooker and give this recipe a crack!
P.S. Another beautiful thing about making broths is that you can use off cuts and scraps from your vegetables and meals. I save celery leaves, carrot and zucchini tops, sweet potato peel, fennel fronds and ends and freeze them for this very purpose. You aren't eating these bits so it doesn't matter what they look like - recycling at it's very best.
P.S.S. This is an anytime meal - no rules!
CHUCK IT ALL IN BONE BROTH
WHAT YOU NEED:
About 2kgs of bones from the butcher or 1 whole BBQ chook (in a perfect world they would be organic and free range but whatever you’ve got access to is good)
1 large whole onion chopped roughly
2 large carrots chopped roughly
3 stalks celery chopped roughly
Any other leftover vegetable scraps such as broccoli and spinach stalks, parnip, turnip, pumpkin skins/ends etc (It all gets strained out !)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 crushed peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Salt/Pepper to taste at the end
1 Tablespoon turmeric
WHAT YOU DO:
STOVE TOP IN THE POT
If using beef bones, put the ones with less meat in a roasting pan and roast at 180 degrees for about 40 mins until they are just browned. (Just helps with the flavor). While roasting the less meaty bones, put the meatier ones in a big pot with enough water to cover, add the vinegar and let sit. Once the bones in the oven are done, chuck them into the pot too and add extra water if necessary so everything is covered.
If using chicken, shred the carcass of meat and store in a container in the fridge. Use all the bits of the carcass and put in a pot and fill with water to cover.
For both types of bone you can then add in all the remaining ingredients and turn the heat to low. Let the broth develop over as long as you can - 6 to 12 hours is good. Sometimes I turn it off at night and let it sit then start again the next day. The water will evaporate so just keep topping it up so everything remains covered.
When your broth is done turn off the heat and lit sit until cool. Strain out all the bits with a slotted spoon and then either transfer to a big container to have in the fridge for whenever you want to use, or put into lockseal bags and freeze. I usually do ½ cup amounts into the bags so it’s easy to know how much to defrost. The broth should last for 5-7 days in the fridge. Drink on it’s on warmed up with some salt and pepper, maybe some turmeric sprinkled in. Otherwise add it to anything that has a sauce such as slow cooking dishes, soups, gray etc – chuck it in! No one will know how better off they are!!
Cook the beef bones as per Step 1. If using chicken, follow Step 2. (If you don’t have time you can skip this bit, but it enhances the flavor of the broth)
Chuck the bones, veges and remaining ingredients in the slow cooker and cover with filtered water so all the bones are covered.
Turn the Slow Cooker onto Low. I let mine go for about 24 hours until the bones are quite pale and colour is leached from the vegetables. You may need to top up the water a periodically – keep an eye on it to ensure it still covers the bones.
When you’re ready, strain out all the veges and bones, taking care to get the small bits.
Pour into a container (preferably glass) and let sit until cool then store in fridge.