Bone broth is one of the newest food crazes … in that this is how your grandmother used to do soup.
Soup in my childhood was opening a can and adding water. Sodium yes, but not much flavor.
That soup took opening a can, pouring the contents and a can of water into a pot. 3-4 minutes later and you had soup. Bone broth requires a lot more work than canned soup or even adding stock to vegetables, pasta, and meat.
I went to an event that featured bone broth to see if this was as good as advertised and whether bone broth would be worth making myself? Intricate dishes, while tempting, might be better outsourced than trying to make the bone broth yourself.
The primary issue is time. The creation of bone broth vs. stock is like comparing the time of a microwave vs. a dehydrator. Stock takes 45 minutes; bone broth 18 hours. That's not a misprint.
18 hours makes me think of Playtex bras and girdles that promised 18 hours of support. Maybe we should wear an 18-hour girdle to give us enough support to get through making a bone broth.
The 18 hours doesn't count accumulating the bones or specifically buying chicken necks. You can roast the bones for more flavor, but that is outside the 18 hours.
Our hosts had 2 different kinds of bone broth: Thai chicken and Caribbean spice. Both were delicious though I went back for multiple servings of the Thai chicken.
I also liked the idea that the bone broth was healthier for me than regular soup. It didn't taste overly salty, a criticism of canned soups, in part because there was enough flavor that salt wasn't required.
Other differences between bone broth and stock:
- Herbs are added very late in the process; our hosts said in the last 25 minutes.
- Bone broth has acid, such as apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, while stock does not.
One other difference is that bone broth is, well, jiggly. Maybe we need to bring in that 18-hour girdle.
Bone broth is jiggly thanks to gelatin produced by the breakdown of collagen. The collagen comes from using the bones.
Some of that 18 hours can be spent sleeping if you have a slow cooker. The more you cook the bone broth, the richer it will taste, so you do have leeway.
The bone broth advantages — glycine, proline, gelatin, amino acids — are spread across the spectrum so there are many reasons for choosing bone broth. For your humble narrator, making bone broth would ideally be timed just before getting the flu or a cold.
Before lumbering to find the slow cooker or chasing down chicken necks, you should definitely try bone broth, even if you pay hipster prices. Or find a nice grandmother who remembers when bone broth was soup.
Bone broth is not that expensive, given that the bones are inexpensive; your primary concern is finding a good source for bones.
If nothing else, you will end up with one of the best-tasting soups you ever had. Is bone broth 18-hours good? One taste and you'll know for yourself.
photos credit: me