When I first opened Brodo, everyone wanted to obsess about the nomenclature. What’s bone broth? Is it broth or is it stock? In the kitchens I came up in, there was a distinction between stock and broth: stock is typically made with more bone, and broth is made with more meat. French techniques are really built around stock, where you start with bones and knuckles—veal knuckles in particular, because those young cows have a lot of collagen in their bones. Collagen allows you to reduce the stock more, and the viscosity of the resulting liquid makes it the perfect vehicle for many French reductions and sauces.
When you use more meat than bones, you get a lighter, clearer, more flavorful broth, as opposed to a darker, more gelatinous stock. It doesn’t get the same rich viscosity, but it tends to have more flavor. If you look at the Italian repertoire, you see a lot of simple soups—escarole soup, tortellini en brodo, stracciatella—built on a really good broth.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you call it. That debate can get tired. You can call it broth; you can call it stock; you can call it bone broth. It’s transformative magic.
I use necks, backs, and feet. The feet have a lot of cartilage, and the cartilage is
what breaks down into gelatin. And what’s cool about the neck bone, as opposed to other bones—especially when you talk about larger animals like cows, pigs, and lambs—is that it has all of these nooks and crannies. It’s very hard for a processing plant to strip all of the meat off that bone, so you end up getting both bone and meat, which is ideal for broth. A lot of people make beef broth using marrow bones, which are really easy to strip the meat off of—so you end up making a broth with only bone and fat. It’s not going to yield you the umami-rich, colored, gelatinous thing that you want. Making a rich and complex broth requires a surprisingly generous ratio of bones to water; otherwise you’ll end up with a watery broth that lacks depth of flavor.
And this makes some people’s eyes roll, but I really believe in the functional benefits of drinking broth. There is absolutely a reason why we’ve been making this for thirty thousand years, and there’s a reason why every culture around the globe has a broth practice. I believe it is critical to our health, that having broth in your diet throughout the year helps build a healthy gut. I am 100 percent behind the idea that without a healthy gut, you have inflammation, and chronic inflammation is the source behind the shit that is happening to our health, whether it’s acne, IBS, heart problems, or arthritic problems.
More than anything, I feel like a cup of broth represents everything I want to stand for as a chef. The simplicity, depth of flavor, and satisfaction you get from broth define what I’ve tried to do as a chef my whole life: make sure the food feels good going in and make sure it feels good when you’re done eating it, and never sacrifice the satisfaction part. A well-made cup of broth can hit all of those marks, in my mind, in such a powerful way.
- 4 lbs chicken necks and backs
- 1 lb chicken feet
- 2 small yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 t whole black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- + fine sea salt
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Arrange the necks and backs in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until well browned, about 1 hour, flipping halfway through.
Place the necks, backs, and feet in an
8-quart pot. Add cold water to cover by 2–3 inches, about 5 quarts. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foamy impurities every 15–20 minutes.
As soon as the liquid starts boiling,
reduce the heat to low and pull the pot to one side so it is partially off the burner. This allows for the liquid to circulate in the pot. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncovered, skimming once or twice.
Add the onions, carrot, celery,
peppercorns, and bay leaves and push them down into the liquid. Continue to simmer for 3–5 hours, uncovered, skimming as needed and occasionally checking to make sure the bones are still fully submerged.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the solids and discard. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Season with salt to taste and let cool.
Transfer the cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight. When the broth is chilled, spoon off any solidified fat (the broth itself will be congealed). Store the broth for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 6 months. Rewarm brodo in a pot to serve.