One new habit I’ve formed in the past couple years, thanks to Nourishing Traditions, is bone broth. I’ve only made it with chicken but I’ve usually followed the method of roasting the chicken, using the meat for a meal and then making stock with the leftover bones (and organs if you have them) ~ which seems to be more worth the time and expense than simply using raw chicken to start the stock.
It’s really a very simple process…throw the chicken carcass in the crock pot with a couple big handfuls of baby carrots, celery with leaves and halved onions…plus salt and pepper. Garlic is a great addition, especially if you’re fighting a bug! Anyhow, this simmers in the crock pot for about 24-48 hours (longer if you want) and then the stock should be strained through a colander to remove the bones, meat, veggies, etc. Then I always take the extra step to run the broth through a very fine strainer (I bought a chinois for straining yogurt and it works well for this…any mesh strainer with cheesecloth would do in a pinch!) and the finally I place it into 32oz jars and refrigerate.
This method works fine but there are a couple drawbacks, mostly relating to having the slow cooker going for hours and hours, or even days. Even with a two-day cook, I wasn’t getting a lot of gelatin action with my stock, which told me that I wasn’t getting everything I needed from those bones, which is kind of the point. Plus, I would get really tired of smelling it cooking for so long ~and~ it often would take on a bit of a sour or burned flavor when cooked for longer periods. And I still didn’t get much gel action! Plus it was just in the way while cooking…I don’t have a lot of counterspace and having a large section taken up by the slow cooker for days on end would get annoying.
I’m guilty of owning several nice stove-top pressure cookers and not using them often enough to justify the space they take up. Most of them live in the garage cabinets because kitchen storage space is at a premium around here. And all of my friends seem to be getting Instant Pots and raving about how they are replacing their slow cookers, pressure cookers, yogurt makers, etc. with them. I decided to get one so I could get rid of all those other items, but I felt like I needed to wait a few months before spending the money. I also told myself that when I finally get my Instant Pot, would definitely try making stock in it.
Then I got really sick with the flu, got pneumonia, got another virus, got a sinus infection, etc. I decided, I NEEDED to make bone broth, STAT! Instant Pot, or not.
Tom and I went to Sam’s and got four rotisserie chickens (I wish we could afford four organic, free-range, pastured birds but that’s not in the cards anytime soon) and I removed the meat and used it for dinner that night (plus had a TON left for the fridge). We got out our largest Fagor pot and pressure cooked two carcasses at a time and made two big batches of broth, yielding a total of four quarts or broth that once chilled, turned into totally successfully gelatinous blobs!!
I basically followed my usual recipe ~ 64oz of water, two carcasses, a few big carrots and celery ribs cut into large chunks and some onion. I added frozen minced garlic as well and a little pepper. One hour at high pressure. JUST ONE HOUR! I wait to add more pepper as well as some pink salt to each individual serving as I reheat it.
The first couple days we served it with some of the shredded chicken added back in…then we ran out (that chicken did feed us for several days though!) and I started drinking it plain several times a day. I even replaced my tea with it for now.
I try to drink at least a pint a day when I’m sick and having trouble recovering ~ like when I had Valley Fever and unfortunately now. And it’s great in cooking–wonderful in sauces and is a great base for cream soups!
I am looking forward to trying this in the Instant Pot, which I’m hoping to get by the end of the month. I’m not sure it can hold as much as the biggest Fagor pot, so I’ll have to experiment and check back!