Before we begin the exciting holiday season where family, parties, wonderful food, indulgent desserts, get-togethers, home-made gifts and so much more take over our lives, I thought I’d preempt all of the sugary, high-fat recipes with these immune boosting, cold and flu fighting recipes that I’ve discovered recently.
Beef Bone Broth | Immune Boosting | Illness Fighting Food
I know many of you have already discovered the incredible benefits of bone broth, and I’ve long heard that homemade stocks are far superior to store-bought, but candidly I have to tell you I’ve actually never taken the time to make my own. WOW!!! Have I been missing out! And as usual I’m late to the game, always been the case really, a few steps behind. Remember Ditto’s* jeans, you know those crazy pants with the saddle stitched backside that were popular back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Oh, I so wanted a pair of those, but they were expensive and we were a family on a budget, once they went on sale (read: out of style), I finally got a pair, but honestly on my 6th grade body they weren’t terribly attractive!
*My apologies to anyone born after the mid 70’s, or 80’s or 90’s!
Dittos Jeans, saddle stitched backside with flared legs…
…but I digress…my typical M.O.; a day late and a dollar short, always a bit behind, but I get there eventually…and give myself liberal doses of grace. I hope you give yourself grace as well, we are all too hard on ourselves.
This bone broth is filled with nutrients, it is anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, loaded with rich vitamins and minerals; in fact, I’m sipping a nice warm mug of it right now, by a nice cozy fire while writing this post.
Besides tasting absolutely amazing, there are so very many benefits from bone broth, I probably began to realize how many benefits when a group of friends in my neighborhood banded together to help a mutual friend battle Multiple Sclerosis by using foods as medicine; traditional medicine had temporarily helped and foods were and are helping.
Part of the regimen was drinking bone broth in large quantities daily. I did a little poking around for recommended consumption amounts and it kind of all depends on what your body is doing, but a good general guideline is a cup (8 oz) a day, or at least 4 times a week for regular immune support and balance. If you’re under the weather from a current cold or flu infection, sip it around the clock. If you’re in the throes of an autoimmune flare, ditch coffee and tea, and savor at least three cups a day (around breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I learned a lot about it on the Kettle & Fire blog.
This broth recipe is brought to you by my favorite Czech and dear, sweet friend, Linda! She’s an AMAZING cook, baker, bar tender and cookie decorator! OH MY GOODNESS I’ve never seen gingerbread done like she does it, it’s really too pretty to eat! She and her husband had a restaurant for a few years, so whenever we get invited to their house our answer is always YES, because we know we’re in for a treat of gastronomic proportions! In fact not long ago, we were at her house for a luncheon and as an appetizer, she served us up this amazing bone broth, who’d have thought that it would be so amazing and filling and flavorful!
Here are a few of the benefits of bone broth (chicken and beef) as well as Mineral Vegetable Broth.
- High in antioxidants
- Repairs the gut
- Alleviates food allergies
- Immune support
- Bone health
There are numerous articles out there and as with all things nutrition based, there are many who will tell you it’s all fooey. And there are numerous articles proving it’s value, this one was one of my favorites as it’s from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) which hopefully gives a little bit of credibility to the health of food. And sometimes, just like faith, you need to believe because of what others have experienced.
I guess the proof is in how you feel and I’ve seen too many people healed by using whole food. If you are a skeptic, just give it a try, even if you do it just to have homemade broth around and not the nutritional benefits from drinking it daily you won’t be sorry.
Nutrition researchers of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
Here are the cast of characters; try and buy as much organic as you can afford or find.
We’ll get started by prepping the veggies, the beauty is this all comes together quickly, it’s the roasting and simmering that take time.
I love that the veggies just need to be washed and rough chopped, no need to be fancy or make it look good. Start by rinsing your onions (skins and all), I used both a regular and red onion, chop in half and toss onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Open your packages of bones and place evenly on cookie sheet.
Wash tomatoes if using fresh (a great opportunity to use some aging tomatoes, if you have large ones, cut in half and place on cookie sheet). If using canned, drain and place whole tomatoes on cookie sheet. I had a lovely assortment from my mom and brother of their harvest before a freeze, some were wrinkling, not great for just popping in your mouth any more, but perfect for roasting.
Next, wash and rough chop your carrots and place onto cookie sheet, snuggling around the bones and other veggies.
This one is a bit tricky, chop up your leek, but rinse really well, leeks tend to be very sandy, try to get as much out as possible. Place around the bones and other veggies. Use all of the leek.
Next wash and rough chop your celery, heart, leaves and all. Place on cookie sheet around veggies and bones (depending on how many bones you have you may have to use two cookie sheets).
Rinse your garlic head and chop through the top of the head, taking a small amount off. Place on sheet with the rest of the veggies and bones.
Lightly salt* the meat and veggies.
*Use a good quality, real sea salt, it doesn’t have to be Pink Himalayan, just a good sea salt.
Roast in preheated oven at 425° for 1 and a half hours. Or in Linda’s cute Czech American accent said, “roast the heck out of it!” That will release amazing flavors from the veggies and from the meat.
After it’s completely messed up your newly cleaned oven (sigh) remove the baking sheets from the oven…
…and place all contents into a large stockpot, at least 8 quarts. I had two cookie sheets filled with bones and veggies, so I split it between two large pots, hoping to yield a bit more. If splitting, try and do so as evenly as possible, adding some extra veggies if desired.
While filling your pots with cold, filtered water (you’ll need about 8 quarts or so, filling to about an inch from the top of the pan). Add your herbs and spices.
- Bay leaves | rich in vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron.
- Black Peppercorns | rich source of minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin C, K, and B6.
- Whole Allspice | The eugenol found in allspice can eliminate digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and constipation, while also stimulating regularity, which reduces bloating and excess flatulence. The anti-inflammatory aspect of allspice further eases cramps, which can ease the entire process of digestion.
- Fresh Tarragon | good source of Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.
With lid(s) on, bring to a boil, if any foam develops after bringing to a boil, skim off with a spoon, these are the impurities. Then reduce to low, remove the lid(s) and allow to simmer for 8-12 hours (overnight if you feel comfortable; if not, cover, turn off overnight, leave on stovetop and start again in the morning, bringing to a boil, then removing the lid(s), simmer for a total of 8-12 hours, the longer the better to get all of the good stuff out.
This simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine that have the power to transform your health. Plus flavor, it helps pull rich flavors into the broth.
Once simmered 8-12 hours, pour through mesh strainer into another large bowl or pot to catch the wonderful broth. You can do two rounds from the same bones and veggies. Take the reserved bones and veggies and return to the pot.
Add another round of water to the top and simmer again to get even more of the good stuff out. Repeat all remaining steps. Simmer for 4 hours, strain through mesh strainer, cool, remove fat cap, add to other broth, freeze.
TIP: If you have a dog, I saved all of the meat that was from the bones, the carrots and some of the solid bones (some had splintered, I only gave her the round bones). I’ve put a little bit in her food each night and she has devoured it all. The bones I give to her to take outside on a nice day and she munched on them for hours! I had to show a picture of our sweet Bella, our 9 year old boxer, she’s the bestest dog!
Meanwhile, cool your first broth on counter, once cooled place the pot of the finished broth in the fridge; a layer of fat will develop on top, once that has developed remove the “fat cap” as my friend calls it, tossing it in the trash, this will reduce the greasiness of the broth. It is a bit gross, but just toss away and you won’t see it again!
In order to easily ladle the broth into jars for storage, I heated the broth back up as all it’s wonderful gelatin thickens it and makes it all jiggly, don’t fear this jiggle, this gelatin is the really good stuff!
I used quart sized canning jars, but you could also measure out a 32 oz and pour into a freezer bag, remove any air and freeze laying flat in the freezer, stacking the bags on top of each other, this saves a lot of space in your freezer.
I used a ladle and a wide mouth canning funnel, made it super easy. I didn’t just pour the broth in the jars because A) I didn’t want to spill any of this precious liquid and B) I figured there could still be some debris on the bottom of the pot and that way it didn’t go into the jars.
And it indeed had debris, hard to see in this picture but you can kind of see it in the lower middle side of the pot.
Mine yielded about 8 quarts of broth! Not to shabby, right now I’m using it mostly for drinking, but plan on making more soon and will put it in soups and stews!
If you are freezing in glass, be very careful not to pour past the “shoulders” of the jars, the wider mouth jars have higher shoulders and allow you to fill it higher and freeze without it bursting your glass jars. A few other freezer tips:
- Leave the lids untightened until frozen
- Make sure the broth is completely cooled (on the counter first, then in the fridge)
- Don’t fill past the “shoulders” of the jar.
- Use a cloth, paper towels to put between the jars while freezing, or leave plenty of space if possible.
- Once frozen, tighten the lids on the top.
You may store in your fridge for 4-5 days (it will become gelatinous, but heating will bring it all back to liquid state), may be stored in your freezer for up to 4 months, if it lasts that long.
Here’s the recipe, enjoy in good health!
Try these other immune fighting recipes as well.
- 4-6 lbs of beef bones, some with meat on if possible (Oxtail, knuckle bones and round bones)
- 4-6 carrots, washed and rough chopped
- 1 bulb of garlic, washed and top of head cut
- 2 Leeks, washed well to remove sand, rough chopped, all parts
- 4-6 celery stalks, including leaves and heart, washed and rough chopped
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained or 4-6 fresh tomatoes, washed and halved
- 1 regular onion, washed (with skin, cut in half)
- 1 red onion, washed (with skin, cut in half)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 6 whole allspice
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh tarragon (optional)
- Sea Salt to taste
- Cold (room temp) filtered water
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet (if desired, easier for clean up)
- Remove bones from package and place spaced apart on cookie/baking sheet.
- Wash and rough chop all veggies nestling around the bones on the sheet.
- If necessary, use two pans.
- Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
- Roast at 425 degrees for 1 and a half hours until everything is nicely browned.
- Place all bones, veggies and all roasted bits into a large stock pot (or two if need be).
- Add bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and tarragon to pot (double up if using more than 1 pot)
- Fill pot with cold (room temp) filtered water, to about 1 inch from top, cover and bring to a boil.
- If it starts to foam, skim the foam off the top and discard (the impurities).
- Remove lid and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 8-12 hours (overnight if you feel comfortable) if not, turn off, cover and allow to sit on stovetop overnight, starting back up in the morning.
- Pour through mesh strainer into a large pot or bowl, reserving the solid pieces (bones & veggies)
- Return reserved solid pieces to one of your stock pots and refill with water (by this time you can probably combine the solid pieces into one pot) for a second round to extract even more good stuff.
- Repeat the above process, simmering for about 4-6 hours, straining and cooling broth.
- Combine both broths together, add salt to taste (I probably added around 1-2 tablespoons), stir to combine.
- Cool broth on counter, once cooled, place in refrigerator.
- A hardened "fat cap" will form once cooled, spoon off the fat cap and discard.
- The broth should be nice and gelatinous now, once ready to store, heat until liquid state again and ladle into quart size jars.
- If freezing in glass jars, do not fill above the "shoulders" of jar, leave lid on loosely and leave space or place a cloth in between jars. Once frozen, tighten the lids.
- Or ladle 32 oz at a time into freezer baggies, lie flat in freezer.
- Once ready to use, thaw in refrigerator and use in soups, stews, or just warm a cup and drink.
- Store in refrigerator 4-5 days, in freezer up to 4 months.