Since we’re smack dab in the middle of the cold weather season, I have no doubt that your weekly menu items are much the same as mine—soups, stews, and pot roasts. Warm, comforting foods always seem to fit the bill when the temp gets low. But as much soup as we go through this time of year, I’m just not a canned soup kind of gal. That means we go through lots of the all-important main ingredient in a good soup—broth.
Once I overcame my self-imposed barrier on making homemade bone broth and discovered just how easy it was, I pretty much stopped buying the stuff from the store. But even though homemade bone broth is delicious and packed with all sorts of nutrition that makes going homemade more than worth the effort, it does take time. I’m always bummed out when I realize I’m running low, typically on the same day I’m planning to make a big pot of chicken soup for dinner. There’s just no way I can make a new batch of chicken bone broth ready in time.
Enter The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet by Hilary Boynton and Mary G. Brackett. When I started looking through super informative cookbook, I came across the culinary gem known as meat stock—and it’s been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. Why the excitement? Well, I dare say that meat stock, first cousin to bone broth, is a highly nutritious elixir that can be used in much the same way, but in much less time. Hooray!
As Boynton and Brackett point out, all you need to make your own meat stock are some pieces of meat with the joint in them. Just put a beef shank or a whole chicken cut into parts in a pot, add a few veggies and spices, fill it with filtered water, and throw it in the oven for a few hours. Voila, you have meat stock! Of course, you also have a wonderful meal all ready to go with the veggies and the meat you used to make it.
With its milder flavor, meat stock is slightly different than bone broth. But they both offer glycine and proline, amino acids essential for maintaining proper brain function. Also, the gelatin found in both stock and broth is known for its incredible healing properties. It not only supports our immune systems but also helps repair our joints and ligaments.
It’s well worth your time to make a batch of bone broth. Still, you don’t need to run to the store if you run out right when you really need it. Just keep some chicken quarters and thighs in the freezer to make an impromptu meat stock. It makes for a great substitute in a relatively short time.
Have you made meat stock before? What are some of your favorite ways to use it?
Photo from iStock/PeteerS