Bones about it, this is a hot drink

By Chef Terri Milligan / Photography By Chef Terri Milligan | November 13, 2017
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Bone Broth.
Bone Broth.


There’s a chill in the air. Time to put on those cuddly wool sweaters, light a crackling fire and relax with a cup of bone broth.

A hot cup of cocoa or a spice-filled mug of steaming cider has its place. But if you are looking for a warming beverage that comes with a dose of healthy benefits, swap out those sweeter winter sips with a cup of steaming bone broth.

Bone broth is quickly becoming the new coffee. Though it’s not likely that bone broth cafés will be replacing your favorite coffee shop haunt anytime soon, it is true that more and more people kick start their day with a cup of this rich aromatic broth.

“We offer our house-made organic chicken bone broth all day,” explains Veronica Ripp, owner of Sturgeon Bay’s Get Real Café.

Trained at Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta, Door County native Ripp opened her health-driven café in 2014 with a goal to provide clean, organic and locally-grown food to Sturgeon Bay. Having bone broth as a daily offering fits perfectly with her business goals. “Folks enjoy our bone broth hot in a mug, or they can purchase it in quart containers to enjoy at home.”

Not familiar with bone broth? Aromatic and rich in nutrients, bone broth is basically traditional stock on steroids. The trick to making this savory elixir is good bones, preferably from organically-fed animals, raw vegetables for added flavor and most importantly a long, slow simmer. And by long, I mean at least 18 and up to 24 hours on a low, simmering heat. There are some recipes that even call for a 72-hour simmer.

The broth’s long simmer brings out the health benefits buried in those nutrient-rich bones. Various proteins, collagen and gelatin are the main nutrients extracted during the simmering process. The entire body benefits from bone broth, which is believed to improve digestive and immune systems, bones, joints, hair, teeth and nails.

What exactly can consuming bone broth do for you? Although there is much discussion surrounding this question, from most accounts the direct consumption in a liquid form can help your body more rapidly absorb the broth nutrients. The collagen in bone broth is thought to reduce intestinal inflammation and promote healthy skin. I don’t know about you, but I would rather enjoy a nice mug of hot bone broth over a Botox injection any day.

The glycine from the broth, along with phosphorous, magnesium and calcium, assist in healthy bone and joint care. Mark Sisson, author of “The Primal Blueprint,” calls bone broth a “superfood” because of its high concentration of minerals.


Choose the right bones

Bones from grass-fed animals are prized for bone broth preparation. Waseda Farms, located in Baileys Harbor, is known for its organic meats. Adding bone broth to the product line was a natural fit for this growing company.

“We started making bone broth about three years ago,” said Matt Lutsey, president of Waseda Farms. “We saw it as an opportunity to provide Northeast Wisconsin with a quality bone broth product using organic and grass-feed bones. We obviously had access to better ingredients having the farm, so it was a natural progression to begin making and selling bone broth. We sell it by the quart in a frozen state.”

Waseda Farms also sells both beef bones and chicken carcasses, all from grass-fed animals, for folks who want to make their own broth. The Waseda Farms Market in De Pere also uses homemade bone broth for all soups offered at their establishment.

“We change the soups every couple of days, but all of the offerings are prepared with our house-made bone broth,” Lutsey said.

Grab some aromatics

To infuse flavor into the broth, add vegetables like carrots, celery and onion to your stock pot. Roasting the vegetables and bones in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes adds flavor and depth to the final stock.

Place the roasted bones and vegetables along with distilled water, a splash of apple cider vinegar, a grind of kosher salt, whole peppercorns and a few sprigs of your favorite fresh herbs, and your bone broth is ready for that long simmer.

Although the bone broth can easily be prepared on a stove top on low heat, a slow cooker makes preparation even easier. Just place the roasted bones and vegetables with water and seasonings in the slow cooker, turn on low and sit back and wait.

Cool, skim and enjoy

After your allotted simmering time is complete, it’s time to strain the stock in a mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the bones and vegetables. Place the bone broth in a clean bowl or pot and cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for four hours so any fats can solidify on top of the broth. Simply use a large spoon to skim off the fat, and your bone broth is ready to go.

You will notice that when refrigerated, your bone broth will look more like gelatin than broth. That only means you were successful in your bone broth preparation. The gelatin from the bones has been properly extracted during the long simmering process. When reheated, the bone stock will simply be a healthy, nourishing liquid ready for a mug or to be used in your favorite soup recipe.

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