Liquid Gold

January 15, 2015

Making broth

My Grandma taught me to how to cook (and to eat, but that is a story for another post). Her parents were French immigrants, and, as much as French food is known for its tasty complications, economy is the true hallmark of French home cooking. The modern trend for “nose to tail” is ancient and Gallic in origin.

Grandma would buy a chicken on Saturday, roast it on Sunday, and serve the sliced breasts in a rich cream sauce. On Monday, the dark meat was turned into something with a carb bolster, like a potpie or a goulash over rice. On Tuesday, the pickings became the backbone for chicken salad sandwiches, and when she was left with nothing but a carcass, that went into a stockpot with some vegetables and simmered for days, until the next Saturday, when another whole chicken was bought. Out of all the deliciousness Grandma could wring from a single bird, I think it was the stock she savored most. She called it liquid gold.

The bones from one chicken made enough stock for her to drink a small cupful every day, about two quarts.

For as long as I have been cooking for myself, I have been making chicken stock like Grandma did, but I froze it in ice cube trays to have on hand when a recipe called for it.

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Ever since I started training in the afternoons (sometime between 1:00 and 5:00PM), I have had a problem figuring out a workable solution for lunch. Here are the givens: I eat (a good-sized) breakfast at 7:30 every morning (more on that, too, in a future post). I am hungry by noon but cannot workout on a full stomach. So I have to wait for a few hours between eating and training; noon lunch means a later start time. For a while, I made fruit smoothies (coconut water, banana, and some greens) spiked with protein powder, and they were filling and fine on my stomach, but I hated having all that sugar at midday and in one hastily consumed cup (17 grams in the banana alone, which is just about all I’ve allocated for myself daily). So, I wondered, how could I make a liquid lunch without sugar?

Savory smoothies, that’s how. A cup of homemade broth (my repertoire has since expanded to include beef, veal, and partridge) paired with almost any roasted vegetable and whirled in the Vitamix for thirty seconds. This is faster than any fast food and I can train comfortably about thirty minutes after drinking it.

I read in the New York Times about a trend called “brothing,” and now I have learned that there are amazing health benefits to drinking a cup of broth every day. If it is made right—I brown carrots, celery and an onion in the stockpot first, then add the carcass and some juniper berries, peppercorns and bay, and enough purified water to cover the bones and four extra pairs of chicken feet that the butcher throws in with a knowing wink, spike it with a little vinegar, cover and simmer, but never boil, for at least 72 hours—it is loaded with minerals, amino acids, collagen, and proteins nearly impossible to get in any other foods.

Don’t you love it when you can solve a problem with a solution that makes life even better?

 

Bone Broth

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