Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Cook Bone Broth

Ever since Zoe moved on from eating puree at 6 months to porridge when she was 7.5 months, I have been trying to tweak my porridge recipes to make it more nutritious and tasty at the same time. It can be really boring for her to eat the same porridge every day for lunch and dinner and also challenging for me to create that natural flavoring. For us personally, we keep away seasoning like salt or soya sauce from her as we read that babies' kidneys (under 1 year old) aren't ready to cope to process salt yet.

Hence, cooking her porridge involves a lot of ingredients to create that natural flavoring. To my delight, I recently discovered the vast benefits of consuming bone broth and have since incorporated it into cooking Zoe's porridge. You can read about the benefits here. And here's a step by step set of instructions of how I prepare it.

 1. Chop tomatoes, celery, carrot (usually I add potatoes too but I ran out of it this time).
While I chop the vegetable, I also boil a pot of water to blanch/ parboil the pork bones.

2. Once the water boils, blanch/ parboil the pork bones to get rid of scum

 3. Use extra virgin oil to stir fry the vegetables for about 2 minutes.
 4. Combine the pork bones and vegetables into a slow cooker

 5. Add boiling water/ filtered water into the pot. Cook on low for 24 hours or up to 72 hours. The long cooking hours is meant to extract the minerals from the bones. And while you check on your broth every other hour, you may also want remove the fat/oil that surfaces. I also do add small amount of boiling water when I see that the bones are surfacing due to the broth evaporating.

6. When the slow cooking is done, strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer and leave it to cool. After cooling, you can either freeze them into cubes or you may keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. One good indicator of a good bone broth is that the broth when left in the fridge should have enough gelatin to gel. If it doesn't, don't fret, the broth is still rich with goodness and the reasons it did not gel could be that you did cook it long enough, or the proportion of the water was more than the bones.

Previously I used ikan bilis + pork muscle as a soup base for Zoe's porridge, but I have then switched to using bone broth as a base when I discovered the many health benefits it contained. And for the past two weeks, I will leave it in the slow cooker for 24-28 hours and then store it for the week. You may also use beef bones, chicken bones/feet, or even fish head/bones (exceptional of oily fishes like salmon as it stinks the whole kitchen). It is also important to choose good quality bones (eg grass-fed cow bones) as you are drawing out the nutrients of these bones. I have also read that, people actually drink it warm in the morning or uses this to braise their vegetables or meat. It taste really good, has many ways to use it and most importantly it is extremely healthy!

I will be sharing in my next entry of how I use this bone broth to cook Zoe's porridge. Stay tuned!

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