Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Broth for Breakfast

I prefer to get my meat with bones included. Two reasons for this: the meat cooked with the bone in tastes better. And the second reason is that I can make broth from the bones.

Whenever we eat a hunk of meat with a large bone attached, my husband knows that he will see it again and he's finally learning to put it in the freezer with the rest of my left over bones. Turkey, chicken, duck, beef, lamb, and ham bones are all prized bits. Entire fowl have been known to become broth in my house. I use the left over bits of meat that come off as salad meat if it only gets a one day simmer. If it goes into a 3 day simmer, then it becomes pet food.

So a simple recipe: Put bones with bits of meat attached into a stainless steel stock pot with a lid. Chop a yellow onion in half -- don't peel it first. Toss in a stick of celery with leaves attached. Put in a teaspoon to a tablespoon of black pepper corns (don't grind them). Add a tablespoon of sea salt. Add a whole carrot. Just wash it, don't peel. DO NOT add cabbage, garlic or other strongly flavored vegetables. Add enough water to top the pot ingredients by 1 inch. You should get at least a gallon of water in there if not more. Add a 1/2 cup of strong vinegar. Put on the stock pot lid. Turn heat up to high until it reaches a boil. Give it a stir and turn the temperature down to medium low so it drops to a simmer. See if you can get the temperature even lower and keep it simmering. Put the lid on and go away.

Seriously just forget about this pot. Go walk the dog, visit your livestock, go to work. Eight hours later you can taste your stock.Stir it well and pour the fat off the top of your spoon.  The broth will probably feel a little "thin." Put the lid back on and let it keep working. Go to bed. Get up, stir, and taste the stock. If it still tastes "thin" add a cup of red wine or white wine or 1/2 cup of sherry. You can add a little oregano, savory, sage or a bay leaf at this point. Go away for another four hours. Stir and taste. Leave the lid off and let it go another 4 hours.

You can take it off the stove if your family insists at this point. They might because this stuff will smell like heaven and they will find themselves hungry for days and not really understand why. I like to try and go a full 72 hours simmering. At this point the bones actually have started to dissolve. All that wonderful calcium will go into the liquid.

Some folks like to clarify their broth. I don't worry about it. Pour the broth through a sieve into another large pot or bowl. If you want to can it, now is the time to do that. Meat broth must be pressure canned at 11 pounds pressure for 65 minutes if canned in pint sized jars. Don't water can meat broth. I also freeze broth in glass jars. I have lost a few jars to breakage doing this, but most of the time there is no problem.

I also will keep a large container (1/2 gallon jar) of broth in the frig for as long as it lasts. Some mornings I have a smoothie for breakfast with a raw pastured egg, raw milk yogurt and a little local honey, some frozen fruit or bit of fresh fruit. But I only have that in the summer. In the winter I have a mug of broth for breakfast. I heat about 1 1/2 cups on the stove and add a teaspoon of coconut oil and heat until the oil melts. I can drink it down and head off to work and be very happy until lunch.

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