Healthier Happy Hours is all about sipping your way to a better self. Drink these healthier liquids in lieu of alcoholic libations.
Listen, bone broth really wasn't a revelation to me like it seems to have been for the rest of the internet. I'm pretty sure that my family has been eating some form of bone broth throughout my entire life. When I was little and got sick my mom would boil a whole chicken carcass, bones and all, for hours to make a broken rice chicken soup for me. The bones would break down, the cartilage - my favorite part of the bird - would come unstuck from the bones and the broth would thicken once the rice was added. She'd top it with some aromatic ginger and cilantro, maybe a few chilis to get me to sweat out the fever, add a dash of lime and fish sauce and her one-bowl-cure-all was good to go.
And it's not just my mom. There's a Korean a beef bone soup that entails boiling beef bones for hours until the broth is milky white and almost creamy. Vietnamese pho broth is made by cooking bones for hours, taking care to extract all the flavor from the marrow. While the idea behind bone broth is nothing new, what is new is the idea of drinking it on it's own for health benefits and the time spent making this new healthy craze version of bone broth.
Bone broth is purportedly beneficial due to the high amounts of calcium, protein, glycine, gelatin and other important minerals in the broth. While protein and calcium are known elements of a well rounded diet to promote healthy bones and muscle growth, glycine and gelatin can aid digestion and improve skin and hair health, making bone broth one powerhouse of a snack. It's especially good when the temperatures drop below freezing in NYC, though hopefully we're done with that for this winter. (Did I mention that I'm from Florida? Where the humidity actually makes my skin glowy and if we ever had temperatures below zero, it certainly wasn't while I lived there. And I hail from the "cold" northern bit of Florida.)
Better yet, bone broths are cheap and relatively easy to make - perfect fare for empty pocketed recent grads who are still figuring out how to make a box of mac and cheese. And let's be honest, you aren't taking your multivitamin unless is a gummy vitamin. You need this bone broth.
You can use any bones to create a bone broth. Often butchers will give away the bones, though with the bone broth craze kicking into high gear that might not last for long. It truly is a set it and forget it cooking method - fill a pot with your desired spices and bones and boil on low heat for at least 5 hours for chicken, and at least 8 for beef bones. You can even do this in a slow cooker if you don't want to worry about an open flame.
While basic bone broths are fine, I had to spice up the standard recipe to make something that I'd enjoy sipping. Instead of just meat, water and vinegar (which aids in extracting the nutrients from the bones), I added in spices and aromatics that give it a bit of a Thai twist and utilized both fish and chicken bones in my broth. I've been drinking the broth in a coffee mug a few times a week to boost my hair and skin health during the winter, but I've also found that using it while braising vegetables and making grains imparts a flavorful punch to the dishes where you'd otherwise just be using plain ol' H2O.
Use it on its own or as an ingredient, and enjoy knowing that you're getting healthier with every spoonful.
Thai Inspired Bone Broth
Makes approximately 6 cups
2 inches of garlic, peeled and sliced
Half a head of garlic, peeled
Half of one lemongrass stalk
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 stalks of green onions, wrapped in a cheese cloth bundle
10 whole white peppercorns, also wrapped in the cheese cloth
Optional: Fish sauce and cilantro to taste
- Add all ingredients to a large stockpot or slow cooker and cover completely with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for three hours. If using a slow cooker, set on low.
- After 2 hours check the broth and skim off any grey bits or fat that has risen to the top, along with any debris. Use a fine mesh spoon to do this.
- Continue cooking on low for the crock pot and on a low simmer if using a stock pot on the stove for at least five hours for chicken and fish bones, and nine hours for beef or pork bones. You can simmer for up to 24 hours.
- When the broth is ready, strain to remove all remaining bones and aromatics. Place over a low heat and add a tied bundle of cilantro to flavor the broth further.
- Serve with a small amount of fish sauce and an extra squeeze of lime juice. Sip and feel healthier.
Since everything used in this can be pulled from leftover herbs, vegetables, aromatics and other meals the cost is very low. Your butcher, like I mentioned above, might even be giving bones away for free or at a very low cost. I was able to make this recipe without buying anything at all. So for zero dollars I was able to make a healthy, delicious bone broth.