Bone broths have been around for centuries, since the 12th Century to be exact. I grew up on bone broths cooked by mother and grandmother (no i am not from the 12 Century). Chicken was the bone broth of choice in our house, simmered for hours to withdraw all the flavour and nutrients. Its one of my all time comfort foods and is something i cook from scratch every couple of weeks for my family, especially when someone has a cold.
So what exactly is a bone broth? Quite simply, bones such as from beef, chicken or veal etc are roasted, then simmered for anywhere between 4 to 24 hours with a mirepoix (carrots, celery & onion) and some aromates. The goal, to extract all the vitamins, minerals, protein, gelatine and collagen but most of all the flavour from the bones and vegetables. The difference between a bone broth and a standard stock is predominantly the amount of time it is cooked and the practice of opening up the bones to release the bone marrow etc.
It is said that the gelatine and collagen in a bone broth improves hair & skin, the calcium and magnesium is good for your bones & joints, it assists in digestion and immune boosting plus acts as an anti inflammatory. There are even reports to suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue. The experts say it's all yet to be proven except for the anti inflammatory benefits which have been via a study published in Chest Journal. Personally, I'm sticking to the fact that all stocks and broths are bloody delicious!
It’s been used as a penicillin and to relieve other medical ailments all over the world via numerous versions of broths and has come back on trend is a massive way, predominately across The U.S., UK and Australia as the paleo movement grabs hold of it.
In The U.S. there are countless venues offering the hot broth out of little windows in New York such as Brodo to trendy butcher/eatery Belcampo Meat Co. across California. In the UK there are dedicated companies making broths such as Brighton Bone Broth and the recent opening of Bone Tea Broth Bar in Notting Hill. It is of course going crazy through Paleo circuits around the world including our fair shores with the likes of a celebrity chef advising mums to put away to boobs and fill their baby’s belly with bone broth… Uh, no....
Although the Australian foodservice scene hasn't yet delivered any long standing offering, the retail offering is taking shape, especially with the likes of The Stock Merchant who have just released their Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth. We've been big fans of these guys for years with their other stocks and jus, and must say we are highly impressed by their latest release!
As mentioned, I am a massive fan of stocks & broths, and if you can’t cook or get a broth then a good store bought stock will get you through. Either way, and putting all the health benefits and claims aside, it just smacks with flavour and warmth. So we are predicting that although this trend will taper, it will be around for while. Well, here’s hoping anyway...