As far as food trends go you’ll find a brand new, fresh trend (like the Cronut) every now & then. But quite often food trends are basically just old ideas that have been given a dust-off or a new name & presented as a brand new thing.
Case in point: bone broth. Earlier this year I was reading up on food trends & came across some articles on bone broth (here, here & here) – a craze that took the foodie world (especially in New York) by storm.
A light soup with herbs & maybe one or two veggies has been part of Chinese meals for ages & now trendsetters are calling it the new miracle drink to sip on. With digestive or pallet cleansing benefits or simply as a drink, a watery soup has many benefits like keeping your skin clear due to the minerals that feed your cells & minimizes inflammation. Claims have also been made about the magnesium, calcium, potassium, collagen & amino acids that will give your health a proper boost. It is indeed a perfect drink for cold sniffly winter months.
I was curious to learn more about this trend. I also wanted to know if, when & how South Africans are embracing it. So I did a piece on the topic for a daily paper for which I picked two absolutely fabulous foodie brains.
First I wanted to know from food writer & stylist Jana van Sittert from HausHaus why broth might be so trendy. Her answer: “Ancient diets have been the hype since 2014. The Paleo & “Tim Noakes” (or banting) diets are hugely popular. Our lifestyles are complicated & I believe that is why we have a need for simplicity in our food. Health is a top priority & we all want eternal youth.”
Then I got in touch with blogger, writer & cook, Marie Viljoen of 66 Square Feet. I was honestly not expecting her to reply, because (in my mind) she is a real celeb in the food world. But she did. Very quickly. And I was totally delighted.
Marie (who lives in New York, but is orginally from South Africa) reckons that people should stop stressing about what might be ‘in’ in foodie circles & just enjoy the food! She was also so kind to send me the yummiest recipe & pictures to go along. So amazing. (Yay Marie, thank you so much!)
This is what she had to say:
“Two weeks after The New York Times published a story about bone broth I went to my local Harlem butcher to buy bones to make beef stock… There were no bones. ‘There have been no bones for two weeks,’ said the butcher. Ja nee.
So I bought beef short ribs, instead. Short ribs have a very good bone to meat ratio, & make an especially rich stock & that is what bone broth is. My grandmother’s oldest recipes books call it invalid food, concocted for the sickbed, now sipped by healthy trendhounds. My own French cookbooks use it as the basis for countless sauces. An old thing, suddenly new.
bone broth with green paste, serves four
Making a rich broth is a simple process, if time-consuming: you roast the meat bones, add vegetables, roast a little more, then add liquid & reduce the volume. Beef broth or classier consommé are the ageless words for what is suddenly bone broth. Whatever you call it, a bowlful served with a piece of sourdough toast spread with a quick green paste of bright green herbs to cut the richness, is a wonderful meal in its own right.
1.5 kg beef short ribs or meaty beef bones, cut across the bone
salt & pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm pieces
2 medium carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm chunks
2 leeks, white & green parts, cleaned very well
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley stems
1 cup red wine
In a roasting pan arrange the beef pieces evenly. Season the meat with salt & pepper. Roast for 1 hour in a 180°C oven. Remove the pan & add the other ingredients, except the liquids. Toss very well. Return the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Transfer the meat & vegetables to a large stock pot. Try not to eat the meat – it will smell & taste delicious by now! Put the original roasting pan over high heat on the stove & add the cup of red wine to deglaze it. Use a wooden spoon to scratch up all the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom, then pour this liquid into the stock pot, too. Add water to cover the ingredients by about 10cm. If you run out of space you need a bigger pot…
Bring the liquid to a boil, & then lower the heat so that the surface is bubbling very, very gently. Keep it at this temperature for another 5 hours.
Allow to cool in the pot (I do this overnight in cool weather). Scrape off the fat that hardens on the surface of the liquid (you could put the pot in the fridge for an hour, if the fat has not hardened). Now pour the contents of the stock pot through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Reserve the meat & vegetables for another use (I make a ragout).
Bring the stock to a simmer over medium-high heat & taste. It will need some salt, so add it to taste, now. It is now ready to eat.
- If the stock is still very cloudy you could strain it again through cheesecloth.
- For a sparkling-clear consommé whisk two raw egg whites into COLD stock & bring it to a boil, then strain through cheesecloth. The egg whites catch all the tiny solids suspended in it, & clear the liquid.
- You can also proceed to another stage of richness & reduce the stock till sticky, when it becomes the classic demi-glace of French cooking, & the basis, by the spoonful, of countless sauces.
1 cup parsley leaves
½ cup mint leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ tsp salt
2 tsps sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Combine in a food processor & whizz until finely chopped. Serve with hot buttered toast & bowls of beef broth.
Can’t wait to try out this recipe. Thank you for sharing, Marie.
Marie is also author of 66 Square Feet – A Delicious Life (Kalahari, Amazon, or your local book shop in SA):