A lot of people ask what the difference is between a Stock and a Broth and as far as I can tell from research it is this: A Broth is seasoned and Stock is not. Broths tend to be simmered for a bit longer as well. So not much.
Broth has made it into the headlines lately and for all the right reasons, as we endeavour to keep healthy and stay well we have rediscovered the benefits of this delicious, nutritious elixir. Sarah Wilson from ‘I Quit Sugar’ and Pete Evans from ‘The Paleo Way’ rave about the benefits of Bone Broth and can’t get enough of it.
It is made by first roasting and then slowly simmering bones for up to 24 hours in water, the resulting liquid is absolutely jam packed with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace elements. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which is fab for those with arthritis and joint pain. (That would save rattling when you walk down the street after taking all your supplements!)
The reason that some bone broth is like jelly is from the Gelatin that is extracted from the bones and cartilage, an important and inexpensive source of supplementary protein which helps your hair and nails to grow strong.
It has been used throughout History as a heal all ills, and I am sure there are many of us who have a dog eared recipe passed from friend to relative to combat cold and flu. Not to mention any sort of malaise.
I always have a pot of broth on the go, using a couple of chicken carcasses, onion,garlic,parsley,celery, carrot ,fresh ginger and when I can get hold of it fresh Turmeric . (Turmeric is such a wonderful spice it needs its own article) I also add apple cider vinegar which helps break down the bones and cartilage releasing all the vital minerals. Not to mention a healthy amount of salt.
Once this wonderful cauldron of bubbling goodness has been cooking for a while (sometimes 4 hours and maybe up to 12) I let it cool slightly and strain the liquid through a sieve. The result is a wonderful golden broth with pearls of fat dotting the surface. Some people like to chill it down and scrape off the fat from the top once it is congealed, but I think it adds a delicious unctuousness. This liquid can keep for up to a week in the fridge, although mine never lasts that long.
I cook all my vegetables and grains in Broth, and my latest pack lunch for the children is to fill a thermos with it and add a handful of noodles and some spinach leaves. The noodles cook by the time recess has come along and the spinach wilts without losing its emerald colour. Easy and a winner.
Broth has so many uses, it is an absolute must for any gravy or soup, add a splash to curries, risottos, or just have a cup on its own. You can pretty much use it in everything.
It is such a versatile basic ingredient to have on hand and makes all the difference to a meal in fact Escoffier once said; “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” And as you know if you have ever made gravy with a homemade stock the difference is immeasurable.
Now what’s for dinner…