Cooking

Fad to the Bone

Warm up and eat clean this winter with rich and healthy bone broth
Photos: Katie Foster/Tasting Table
Fish Fumet Bone Broth

Stock is a key component in three of the five "mother" sauces of classical French cuisine. As master chef Auguste Escoffier claimed in his book Le Guide Culinaire, "Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done." While other chefs were throwing away tendon scraps and bones, Escoffier was simmering them into liquid gold. Nowadays, everyone is doing it, and healing, flavorful bone broth is more accessible than ever. So order a batch online or, better yet, make a pot at home (see the recipe).

Last winter, the owner of New York City's Hearth, Marco Canora, opened Brodo, a humble take-out window attached to Hearth selling his 24-to-48-hour simmering broth he claims to be "the superfood that never made it onto the list of superfoods." The trend spread like wildfire, and everyone from fashion editors to doctors have been advocating broth's healing properties.

Canora and Nick Morgenstern of Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream have even collaborated to make a sweet bone broth beverage that offers a mostly guilt-free excuse to indulge in hot chocolate. The dairy- and gluten-free gingered beef broth elixir is flavored with 100 percent chocolate and steamed coconut milk. If chocolate and beef broth don't strike your fancy, they also have a smooth and creamy brodo concoction with a touch of nutmeg and, of course, a little chicken bone broth, bringing an almost-buttery touch to their riff on eggnog.

In Portland, Oregon, Katherine and Ryan Harvey, founders of bone broth delivery company Bare Bones, will soon release The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook ($18), a sort of bone broth 101. The book offers a wealth of information (why sea salt is best), tips (roast meat bone for depth of flavor) and techniques (perfecting that coveted chilled broth "jiggle"). The Harveys also advocate rotating bone broth into dishes as varied as chicken mole and apple-and-chard smoothies.

Ryan says good ingredients are the base of every great broth. "It's important for flavor but also for quality. We believe in the holistic management of animals and that this not only creates better tasting proteins, but it's much better for the animal and the land," he says. After all, the broth is all about the bones, so buy high-quality ones. More often than not, you can find them on the cheap or even for free if you call and ask your butcher or fishmonger for the scraps.

Speaking of fish, take some notes from Japan. For centuries, Japanese chefs have been making a simple fish broth, dashi, that pops up often in the nation's cuisine. You've most likely slurped down the smoky, salty liquid in bowls of miso soup or ramen, savoring every last drop of liquid umami, thanks to kombu (edible seaweed kelp) and bonito (dried, shaved fish flakes).

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At Brooklyn's Okonomi, one of the highlights of chef Yuji Haraguchi's Japanese breakfast is his tiny bowl of luxurious miso soup: A house-made dashi laden with seasonal vegetables, it's enjoyable enough to convince yourself to eat veggies for breakfast. Bar Tartine's French fumet-meets-Japanese dashi hybrid, as published in its book, Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes, proves that adding kombu to traditional fumet is a brilliant idea. Dashi and other fish broths are a quicker alternative to meat bone broths that can take hours to prepare.

As evidenced by the 60,000 Instagram posts tagged #bonebroth and bone broth bars opening across the country, the trend is clearly here to stay. And we'll cheers a hot mug to that.

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