Bone broths have played a big part in my middle-aged revelation of vitality. These are my current favourites:
Salmon Heads. Yes, the heads. They are cheap and extremely nutritious, the bones dissolve into an exceptional calcium supplement. There is a massive amount of Omega 3 fat in them and quite a lot of premium salmon flesh to boot. The eyes and brains provide vitamins that we just don't see in modern diets very often. They make a rich flavoursome broth that is nice to drink with a squeeze of lemon juice in it, and incredible to use as base for fish dishes of any kind.
I just put 2 or 3 heads in a big pot, fill it up to 2/3 with water, throw in an onion or two, some bay leaves, cracked black pepper and some whole cloves of garlic. I bring to boil then reduce to low heat and forget about for about 4 hours. It can cook for several days in a slow cooker crock pot.
Green Thai Fish and Cod Liver Curry with Salmon Head Stock and Zucchinis
This is one way I like to use salmon head stock - in curries. This one uses barramundi, basa or tilapia fillets (about 200g), 2 diced zucchinis, 1 cup of salmon head broth, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 teaspoons of Thai green curry paste, a few slices of fresh galangal, 1 chopped lemongrass stem, 1 small tin of pure coconut cream, 1 entire bunch of green Asian shallots, 1 tin of smoked cod livers, a handful of Tuscan cabbage, 3 cloves of garlic, turmeric, black pepper, arame seaweed, the leaves and stems of a whole bunch of fresh coriander, and a tiny sprinkle of salt.
The arame seaweed must be rinsed and boiled in water on medium heat for about 10 minutes, so I do this first.
I open the cod livers and use their oil, plus the coconut oil to sautee the chopped whites of the Asian shallots with the galangal and lemongrass on medium heat until they are all coated in oil and the shallots are softened. Then I add the curry paste, the dry spices and the diced zucchinis and cook these until the zucchinis begin to soften. I cut up the fish while that is happening, then throw it in and stir on medium heat until the fish firms and begins lightening on all sides (this happens pretty quickly). Then I add the broth, put the lid on the pot and leave it simmering for about 15 minutes on low heat. In the final cooking, I add the cod livers, drained arame, the kale and the finely chopped greens of the Asian shallots, the crushed garlic, and the finely chopped stems of the fresh coriander. With the heat still on low, I add the coconut cream and stir it through just until the mixture starts to bubble again. Don't cook the coconut cream for long or it will separate out and leave an oily layer on top.
Organic Beef Marrow Bones. This makes a really astounding broth. Nothing is richer in collagen or immunoglobulin A. These are bones that have been cut to expose the marrow on several sides of each piece. After 6hours of cooking the bones become soft and can eaten almost entirely. This broth too is extraordinary as flavour in a range of meat dishes. This week I made a soup with it:
Organic Beef Sausage and Marrow Soup with Vegetables
This was made in a slow cooker crock pot left on for about 4 hours. The marrow broth had been made the day before. The soup uses 6 cups of the broth, 6 organic pure beef and herb sausages, a little coconut oil, a handful of tiny cherry tomatoes, copious bay leaves, 3 sticks of finely chopped celery, 4 large brussel sprouts halved and with their bases trimmed off, a handful of ripped-up Tuscan cabbage, salt, pepper, turmeric and dulce seaweed flakes.
I just sautéed the beef sausages on low heat in some coconut oil, just to cook them enough that I could cut them in chunks that would keep their form without causing the contents to dissolve into the soup.
I then tipped all the ingredients into the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. After that I turned it to low (mine only has 2 settings), and this soup remained hot and exquisite overnight so that my partner could eat it again for breakfast the next day.
Organic Beef Osso Bucco cooked in Beef Bone Marrow Broth with Vegetables
I always keep an eye out for organic meats discounted on their due date - I am an opportunistic cook and am happy to make up something on the spot when such an opportunity appears. On this occasion, 2 lovely organic beef osso bucco were to be found at a bargain price and I cooked them that same day in a fairly traditional Italian manner:
I coated the osso bucco with sprouted buckwheat flour and simmered them in copious olive oil with black pepper and tumeric and a pinch of salt, on low heat, turning then, until they were lightly browned on both sides. As the second side was on the heat, I added a large finely chopped red onion, a small organic carrot chopped, a punnet of organic cherry tomatoes, 2 sticks of organic celery and about 200g of organic green beans, then 2 cups of the beef marrow bone broth, and copious pre-crushed garlic. This was going to be marrow fest! I let the pot simmer on low heat with the lid on for about 40 minutes.
When I had the first mouthful I felt just a basic satisfaction with the result - just as I had hoped. But as I kept eating it I felt a sense of awe, gratitude and deep appreciation for its restorative properties. This was profoundly nourishing food and I was truly blessed to be eating it. To an ethical vegetarian it may seem twee, but when I eat organic animals who lived happy lives, and I eat them in this way, bones and organs and scraps and all, I feel as if the increased aliveness it gives me joins seamlessly to the gratitude I have to those animals.
Organic Chicken Carcasses
These too are cheap and something of a left-over from all the bland chicken muscle meat consumption that everyone is so keen on (go figure..). The principle is the same - stick them in lots of water with onions, bay leaves and whatever else takes your fancy (leeks are great too), turn the heat to medium and forget about it for at least 4 hours. I use this broth to cook fibrous vegetables in slow simmerig casseroles or to give curries and extra layer of flavour depth. It makes just about anything delectable. For example:
Cheesy Fennel Bulbs, Celery and Pure Organic Chicken Sausages in Organic Chicken Marrow and Leek Broth
This is a classic example of a nice yummy meal that turns spectacularly crumptious when bone broth is used in it. The broth used in this version was slow cooked in my crock pot from an organic chicken carcass - all muscle skimmed off it before I bought it - hence it only cost me a few dollars AU. I left it simmering for 2 days continually and below is a photo of the only parts of the carcass that we did not eat - most of the bones dissolved completely or could be crumbled with my fingers (hence why they are pink below since I did this with the broth still quite hot!):
The rest of the bones with all their profoundly healing marrow went into the fennel dish. I have often made this just with the vegetables and the broth, but today there were organic pure chicken sausages in natural hog casings at my local store, and I pounced on them as a nice way to up the protein in this meal since my partner and I had both pushed our bodies pretty hard earlier on.
I pricked the 5 sausages and sautéed them on low heat in about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, with some turmeric, black pepper and bay leaves. I added finely chopped organic celery (3 sticks) and 2 large fennel bulbs, each cut into 4 slices. I cut the out skin of the bulbs more finely, as it is tougher, ditto the green stems. The angel's hair leaves of the bulbs I kept aside. With the veggies in, I added the chicken broth, crushed bones and all. I let this simmer until I could see the fennel bulbs turning glossy and translucent. I removed the bay leaves at this point since they get in the way of the cheese melting in the next stage.
At this point, I added the chopped-up angel's hair leaves of the fennel, along with about 10 cloves of pre-crushed garlic. I stirred it all through and then tipped the lot into a large casserole dish. I covered it all with organic grated gouda cheese, and stuck it under the grill for 2 minutes until the cheese had melted. I let it sit for about another 10 minutes on the stove top, both to let the flavours integrate, and because it was insanely hot after I took it out from under the grill.
This actually tastes even more amazing the next day, and we ate it again for breakfast....