Laurel Herman
Laurel Herman
Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, and Culinary Medicine

Bone broth, the modern day Jewish penicillin, essen mamaleh, it’s good for you

Finished Bone Broth (All images photo credit Laurel Herman)

BRRRRR ! I can’t seem to get warm. That’s not like me at all. I usually run pretty warm, always asking ” Is it me or is it hot in here?”  Soup is generally the cure for everything. Every time I make soup I feel like I am channeling the spirit of my grandmother, Bessie Friedman, OBE ( of Blessed Memory).  If she were here, she would approve of this broth. “Ess, Ess,” ( Eat, Eat) I can almost hear her, she must be near by. 

I like to get my bones at the farmers market. Great prices, a whole bag for $4.00. That’s value for money.  But this time my bones came from a beef share.  Different bones are good for different things.  Here are the Cliff notes on the different types. Beef, nutrient dense, all that bone marrow equals high amounts of cartilage and collagen. Chicken, usually uses knuckles, and feet. That will probably be the most gelatinous. Those chickens have more collagen in their knuckles than I do. I remember feet hanging out of my grandmothers soup pot, thinking what the hell is she doing? But she knew, even if she didn’t know the medical terminologies, these grandmas cooked by instinct. They were poor and had little to no meat, so the bones were a precious commodity. Also very high in collagen. Fish broth, smaller bones, less fat but high quantities of natural iodine, healthy fats and amino acids. But my favorite for flavor is lamb. Big in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its restorative properties after illness.

In the winter time, I always have some in the fridge, after all it is more than just a cup of comfort, it’s medicine. It freezes well. It’s my go to, to set my gut right, and remind myself to take care. In fact I’m sipping a cup right now. Good for what ails you, no matter what.  Like tea for the Brits, perfect for  all occasions.  I have an extra cup, would you like to join me?

You will need a crock pot. These are what the bones look like coming out of the oven, oh yes you roast them first. I roast them at 400 F for about 20 minutes. These are not that brown yet.

Next, rough chop the veg. The usual suspects,Mirepoix : the French term for celery, onions and carrots. I leave the onion whole because my grandmother did. Thanks Bessie. Now we add the water. Cover the bones and veg almost to the top of the crock pot. Reverse Osmosis is best, if you can. Add a few tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, this draws out the rich collagen. Set the timer, or leave it on for up to 24 hours. Cover the pot.

In a few hours your house will smell like your grandmother was there. Probably because she is, watching over you, Mameleh ( young girl ). Grab a little parsley and add in the last hour or so, just to seal the deal, and add those last bits of nutrients. I add a little stock powder to round out the flavor in the end. Let it cool and strain. I take this broth and turn it into Pho and other medicinal soups. Its worth the wait.  Essen Mine Kint, ( eat my darling ).  Love, Laurel


About the Author
Laurel Herman is Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, and Culinary Medicine practitioner, residing in Richmond, Virginia. A classically trained chef in the European style( Thames Valley University, London, U.K. and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition) Her style is anything but classic, its fun, and relaxed. A lifelong career in food, Laurel had the unique experience of being the only woman in a kitchen brigade of 30 men, ( 40 years ago) earning their respect and affection through hard work and determination. Laurel's passion is bringing people together through food. Her workshop and retreat work use storytelling combined with cooking and music to evoke a sense of remembrance. She currently teaches at various venues throughout the Richmond area. She is a strong believer that one way we can fight racism and bigotry of any kind is by helping people have access to clean and abundant food, supporting farmers markets and local vendors. Although not a chef himself, her favorite mythological character is Robin Hood, the revolutionary defender of social equality. Her books, The Blissed Out Chef was published in 2015 and the Inner Kitchen, Balboa press in 2011.
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