by Kady Matsuzaki
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash
It is a commonly held belief that soup is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it is flu season or a blustery January day, a bowl of soup is always welcome. While chicken noodle and tomato soups are still popular, there is a new star on the soup scene: bone broth.
Bone broth may sound similar to meat-based stock, but the two are actually quite different. Stock is typically simmered for only a couple of hours and has low protein content. On the other hand, the bones in bone broth are usually roasted prior to the simmering process, in order to improve and intensify flavor. Once the bones have been prepped, they are simmered in either water or stock for hours or even days, in order to extract gelatin, nutrients and minerals in the bone’s collagen, resulting in a product heartier than stock.
Bone broth “typically has more protein per serving than meat or poultry broth,” said Joan Salge Blake, professor of nutrition at Boston University.
With the combination of higher protein content and the collagen’s nutrients, it is no wonder that bone broth’s popularity has been skyrocketing recently. Some are even calling it “the next green juice.” Bone broth’s famous fans include Kobe Bryant and Gwyneth Paltrow.
“I've been doing the bone broth for a while now. It's great [for] energy, inflammation,” said Bryant in an interview with ESPN.
Springbone Kitchen, one of the hottest bone broth purveyors in New York City, touts the broth as a source of glycine and proline, amino acids that help with gut health and digestion and hyaluronic acid, which aids joint and skin health.
“Drinking collagen-rich bone broth equals strong joints, glowing skin, and healthy nails,” said Springbone co-founder Sam Eckstein.
Another NYC bone broth retailer, Brodo, serves its bone broth in paper coffee cups out of a tiny takeout window. Their broth is so famous that even on cold days, the line snakes around the block.
In Boston, there are several more traditional storefronts where one can buy bone broth. Five Way Foods sells their bone broths in various farmer’s markets and stores across the city, including the Boston Public Market. Beacon Hill’s Savenor’s Market calls their house-made bone broth “butcher’s tea.”
Chris Gazarian, a staff member at Savenor’s, said their bone broth is like “an extremely dark, rich broth that almost looks like a gelatinous, dark cold brew coffee.”
For those who want to make their own bone broth, The Butcher Shop, located in South Boston, is a popular stop for the necessary bones. However, any local butcher should have the bones needed to make a delicious and nutritious bone broth. Home cooks can use chicken, beef, pork, duck or even lamb bones in their bone broths.
While a simple cup of hot bone broth makes for a light lunch or dinner, it can also be incorporated into a heartier meal. Many ramen restaurants use a form of bone broth, dubbed paitan, as the soup for their noodles. Usually made with chicken and pork, the broth is opaque, milky white and full of flavor.
When the temperatures dip, ramen shops such as Totto Ramen in Allston and Yume Wo Katare in Porter Square draw long lines of people seeking out the rich and warming paitan broth.
Bone broth is also used in other Asian cuisines. Korean food enthusiasts looking to try bone broth will love the Soulongtang at Seoul Soulongtang in Packard’s Corner; their broth is made with white ox bone and served with brisket and marrow.
Vietnamese pho can also be made with rich bone broth, such as the dishes at Pho Basil near Symphony and New Dong Khanh in Chinatown. Bone broth is also a popular base for hotpot; for example, the black bone chicken broth at Q Restaurant.
From a simple cup of broth to a heaping bowl of noodles, bone broth is a delicious and nutritious trend, no matter how it is served. So, the next time wind chill pushes the temperature subzero, give a piping hot bowl of bone broth a try. Your health, and your stomach, will thank you.