By Janet Keeler
Bone broth just might be the culinary trend that knocks kale off its pedestal in 2016. The culinary landscape is bubbling with talk of the nourishing nature of homemade broth made from a variety of bones, including beef knuckles, oxtails and chicken feet.
There’s all sorts of science that claims bone broth is good for a body. Better skin, healthier digestion and even detoxification are just some of the suggested benefits. Ever wonder why chicken soup is a home remedy for colds? It’s the properties of the chicken broth that helps chase away symptoms.
Be prepared to hear more about bone broth this year, fueled in part by “The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook” by Katherine and Ryan Harvey (Harper Wave; $27.99). The Harveys’ first cookbook was published this month and is an extension of their Bare Bones Broth company which makes and sells (mostly online) organic broths.
Sunday Supper caught up with the Harveys by phone earlier this month at their Medford, Ore., broth-making facility. Our conversation was punctuated by occasional pounding. That was the sound of vegetables being chopped, destined for another batch. Bare Bones makes about 1,000 gallons of broth weekly and Ryan says they can barely keep up with demand.
Read more about the bone broth trend.
The couple moved recently from Southern California to Oregon to be able to afford an expansion of their business. Ryan, 30, is a chef and Katherine, also 30, is a former journalist.Their skills were put to perfect use in the cookbook. Even over the phone, their passion for bone broth comes through. And the cookbook? Well, they hadn’t even seen a copy yet but were exited about the new chapter it represents.
“We don’t really see it as a broth book,” Ryan says. “It’s just a cookbook. In professional cooking, broth is used in many ways.”
Bone broth, Ryan explains, is what makes sauces silky. It’s the backbone of stews and soups, too. It can also add flavor to less obvious dishes, such as burgers and pulled pork.
To Ryan’s point, “The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook” is not a soup book. The recipes range from bacon-wrapped meatloaf to stuffed poblano peppers to twice-baked yams and green bean casserole (one of Katherine’s favorites). The broth is used much like it might be in a commercial kitchen, Ryan says, to add flavor and body.
Making broth the Harvey way is not quick work, but the couple does a fine job in the book guiding novices through the process. The longer the broth cooks, the more benefits and flavor are produced and they suggest using the slow cooker for hands-off cooking. Katherine brings her journalist’s eye for detail and explanation to the early chapters which thoroughly outline the benefits of broth and how to make it. They even go so far to call is the “new multivitamin.”
Ryan brings a chef’s creativity, which accounts for the enticing recipes. He admits, though, he hates writing things down. “It ruins the creative process” but he did it all the same so that his dishes could be turned into recipes.
“I love cookbooks,” he says. “But some people see them as law, not guidelines.”
And the difference between broth and stock? Traditionally broth is made with more meat than stock, which is derived largely from bones, and stock is strictly from bones. Ryan isn’t so hung up on semantics.
“We call it bone broth to differentiate it from what you find in the store. When we started Bare Bones Broth, that was the term we use so that people knew it included all the nutrients,” he says.
Both Katherine and Ryan hope that the book will win converts not just to “gut healthy” bone broth, but to the idea of eating “real food.”
“We want people to return to the idea of making their own food and knowing where that food comes from,” Katherine says.
One of Ryan’s favorite recipes from the book is Red Wine-Braised Short Rib Stew with Potatoes, Carrots and Mushrooms.
“If you haven’t noticed by now, we love braising,” they write in the headnotes of the recipe. “This stew wraps itself around your soul and squeezes ever so gently. And while it truly embodies the concept of a one-pot meal, we do like to roast the vegetables separately so they retain their individual flavor, creating even greater depth of flavor.”
Get a head start by making the beef broth a few days before. The ingredients beg a trip to the butcher; maybe even a special order.
Recipes made with bone broth are slow food for sure. The beef broth that the Harveys use in the short rib stew, takes about 24 hours. That’s mostly unattended cooking time. Making broth, Ryan says, is a way to get reconnected to food. And flavor, too.
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 3 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 cup port or red wine
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 2 cups beef bone broth (recipe for homemade broth included here, or use store-bought)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 8 shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps chopped
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- PREPARE the short ribs: In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the ghee or oil.
- PAT the short ribs dry with paper towels and season with the sea salt. Gently place the short ribs in the hot ghee or oil and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side, turning as needed and searing in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pot. Transfer to a plate.
- TO the same pot, add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until the veggies begin to brown, stirring as needed to avoid burning, about 5 minutes.
- ADD the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping the browned bits loose from the bottom of the pot. Add the thyme and garlic and bring to a simmer. Let the wine reduce by half, about 10 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.
- PLACE the browned short ribs into the wine reduction along with the bone broth and let marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can prepare this dish in advance by letting the ribs marinate for a full 24 hours—well worth it in our opinion.
- PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F.
- REMOVE the pot from the refrigerator, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 ½ hours.
- AT the 2 hour mark, when 30 minutes remain on the cooking time for the short ribs, prepare the vegetables: On a baking sheet, toss the potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms with the ghee or oil and sea salt. Spread out in and even layer and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are knife-tender.
- REMOVE the pot with the short ribs from the oven, uncover, and transfer the meat to a plate. Strain the braising liquid into a deep serving dish; discard the solids from the liquid. Add the roasted veggies to the serving dish and stir to distribute evenly. Using your hands or a fork, break the short ribs into chunks and stir in as well. Garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley and serve family style.
- THE stew or any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 6 months.
- 2 pounds beef knuckle bones
- 2 pounds beef femur bones
- 2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- 1 oxtail, pig’s foot, or several chicken feet
- 1 pound carrots, chopped
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, white and pale green parts, chopped
- 6 to 8 quarts water, or as needed to cover ingredients
- 2 tablespoons apple cider, white, or white wine vinegar
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees.
- ON a baking sheet or two, spread out the knuckle bones, femurs bones, short ribs, and oxtail in an even layer and roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
- ON a separate baking sheet, spread out all the vegetables in an even layer and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- WHEN the bones are roasted, transfer them to a stockpot or slow cooker, cover with the water, and add the vinegar if desired. If using a stockpot, place the pot on the stovetop over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, set the temperature to high; reduce heat to low after broth starts to boil.
- SKIM off the fat and scum that rises to the surface and, if you wish to save the fat for future use as a cooking fat, pass it through a strainer into a storage container. Continue the skimming process for a few hours as the fat and scum rise to the surface.
- CONTINUE simmering for up to 24 hours, skimming as necessary. Add the vegetables and herbs to the stockpot or slow cooker when you have about 5 hours left on your intended cook time.
- GENTLY strain or ladle the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a container. Fill your sink with ice water. Place the container of broth in the ice bath to cool for about 1 hour. Use the broth right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 year.