Best thing to do with leftover bones ….. is to make soup broth.
The leftover bones… from whole chickens, ham, turkey legs, lamb shanks, t-bones, etc (even fish)… can be used, quite easily … to make your own soup broth.
Making a broth ….the ingredients, the preparation:
First, roast the bones in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Roasting adds flavor – deeper flavor qualities that will permeate the entire soup.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot: follow the French by starting your broth with a mirepoix, pronounced: meee-er pwhaa … which is sauteed diced onions, carrot and celery. This is the first stage of making deep robust soups and sauces. Generally the ratio of the 3 veggies are 2:1:1 … with onions being a dominant player.
- Tradition is to use butter, although you can use any type of oil. (See oils, below.)
- Dice the veggies small if you are in a hurry, so that they will cook faster. Beware – you’ll compromise the flavor for the speed.
- A better outcome is to take time for the mirepoix to cook with the butter, to caramelize, to build new deeper flavors.
- Go with yellow onions for a deeper onion flavor.
- Use red onions for a more sweet flavor.
- Use white onions for a lighter onion flavor.
- Use parsnips instead of carrots for making a clear, white sauce.
The mirepoix if finished cooking when the mixture has a bit of browning and the 3 characters have relaxed with each other so much so that they cling and hug each other instead of hold each other at bay.
Location location location creates flavor flavor flavor: Most likely, a glaze on the bottom of the pan was created as the mirepoix and oil have been cooking. The bottom of any pan is prime real estate for flavor b/c the glaze and bits of food are concentrated flavor. And the best way in which to deglaze – to release the bits of food and utilize its flavor – is to add a bit liquid to the warm pot, let the liquid sit for half a minute and then stir.
Btw – these bits of food are called “fond,” a French word meaning “foundation/bottom.”
(pronounced: faahn, the ‘d’ is silent).
I generally use 4 types of liquids to deglaze the pan:
1. balsamic vinegar
2. red or white wine
3. chicken, beef or vegetable stock
4. orange juice
The deglazing liquid will add flavors and colors to your soup stock, so, choose wisely.
Add the bones to the pot, add enough water to cover the bones and then some.
Best to use cold filtered water. Yes, use cold water. It’ll make a better tasting soup. More info here on using COLD water.
5. HERBS (bouquet garni, sachet)
Now for adding more flavors ….. dried herbs are a great place to start.
Add a bouquet garni or sachet of herbs, then put the heat to medium, bring it to a low boil – a simmer – and let it cook for awhile. See next step for how long to cook it.
“Bouquet Garni” a collection of herbs, bundled together so that it can be retrieved and disposed easily after making your soup.
Here are two ways of making your own… with fresh herbs … or with dried herbs:
And, here’s where to order it online, in premade bundles:
Sachet is another culinary term you’ll see. It’s referring to the same type of bundle or bag of herbs.
6. Cooking time
You decide – based on your time, the type of bones, the results you want. Most times I put the soup pot on the smallest burner in the back, on the lowest heat setting, for 2 days, sometimes 3 days.
And sometimes I cook it for a day or so and when the bones are soft I crack’m open to allow more of the marrow to be incorporated into the broth. This deepens the flavor and enhances the nutritional content. I cook it for another day or so and then strain all of the solids, discarding them into the compost. In our city, Cupertino, all food scraps can go into the ‘yard waste’ can. … even bones and cardboard that has food on it, like pizza boxes. Not that I have pizza boxes, but, just say’n – that’s what can go into the yard waste can.
“Do not allow stock to boil or it will become cloudy and emulsify the remaining fat from the bones.” get more culinary wisdom by Chef Jacob here: www.stellaculinary.com …I really like his Free Culinary School podcasts.
7. You know it’s done when …
…when you need the stock. Stock can be ‘done’ at any time. The longer you let it cook the better tasting and better nutrient value it’ll have.
…when the bones are falling apart and dissolving. After time in water and heat, bones will loose it’s ability to hold together, which is from ‘collagen.’ It is this collagen that is the prize position of the broth, but in culinary terms and nutritional aspect. Collagen will give the broth the body, the viscosity, the structure, etc …which are the tell tale sign of a good sauce, soup. Collagen will provide the mineral and proteins content that makes this a premier health food. “Chicken Soup” is one of the most sought after foods for recovery – and collagen is it’s star player, the thing that makes it such a grand prize. I’ll write another post with more info on collagen, stay tuned.
- to make more soup stock
- for drinking (like a cup of tea), for recovery, it helps muscle and soft tissue growth, it’s anti-inflammatory
- traditionally used to make soups and sauces
Try other oils when making the mirepoix:
- butter, the traditional method
- canola oil, is taste-less, oder free and cheaper than other oils
- grapeseed oil, is taste-less, oder free, note: this oil has green-ish tint to it
- olive oil, can use refined, which has less taste and aromas and impurities removed
- coconut oil, imparts a wonderful sweet flavor and gives a tropical flare to the broth
Try other roasting methods:
Roast the bones, then add the mirepoix to the roasting pan and bake another 3o minutes. Then add other veggies, roast’m and then