You can't beat the taste and nutritional value of making your own gravy. Using the bones from your organic free range chicken or organic grass fed meat bones make for a rich broth base for your soup stock or gravy. It is also more respectful not to waste any part of the animal. Shop bought gravy and stock is generally high in salt, sugar and artificial ingredients. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system, tonic for the blood, supports adrenal and kidney function, beneficial for muscles and joints, increases energy etc...
The healing compounds include collagen which is great for the skin, nails, hair and healing the gut lining, the amino acid glutamine is superb for the joints, it is said to be beneficial in healing leaky gut and improving IBS by helping reduce intestinal inflammation, balancing mucus production which results in healthy bowel movement. It has the ability to promote muscle growth and repair, improve metabolism and cellular detoxification, it is also reported to help with memory, focus and concentration. Glycine is another amino acid which again has anti-inflammatory properties which is said to affect certain neuropeptides in the hippocampus, which in turn helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, helping to improve REM sleep and decrease non-REM sleep which results in a better quality sleep, therefore prompting improvements with fatigue, clear headedness and concentration. It has been reported that glycine has a positive affect with neurotransmitters for mental health conditions. In a study done with rats who had alcohol poisoning glycine was able to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol, free fatty acids and triglycerides in the blood circulation, liver and brain, which decreased the swelling in the brain. Glycine has protective qualities in relation to conditions like arthritis, and other illness that effect the bones, muscles and joints. With its oestrogen like bone protective effects it has the potential to help at the time of the menaupause. There are also positive effects on your heart too as it is reported to help with lowering your blood pressure. Bone broth also has calcium, phosphorus, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, magnesium, silicon and the addition of other trace minerals in it, and of course the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and herbs you use.
I use organic grass fed meat and organic free range chickens. The farm that I get my meat from ensures the highest possible standards of care for all the animals. I've been there in person to witness this and also seen their videos and newsletters about their duty of animal welfare. Chef Michel Roux junior visited Hugh Grierson's at Newmiln farm and also advocates their high standards of animal welfare and the excellent flavour of their produce.
I had read about the ayurvedic practice of bone broth and its positive effects on the blood cells. So decided to give my dog bone broth when he had bladder cancer and his blood wasn't clotting properly. The vet hospital didn't think he would survive the operation because of this. Within a week of that daily half cup of bone broth in his food his blood was clotting properly and kidney function was improved... the vet thought some sort of miracle had occurred! More about this story in another post...
Here's how I make the bone broth...
Chicken broth ~
Chicken carcass left over from your roast dinner
Filtered water (4-5 litres)
Two tablespoons of cider vinegar
Stick of celery
6 cloves of garlic
Teaspoon of Himalayan salt
Half a teaspoon of pepper
Handful of fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley
Put your cooked chicken carcass in the boiling water and vinegar and slow cook it for 18 hours. For the last six hours add the chopped vegetables which make the cooking time 24 hours in all. Strain through a fine mesh seive and jar it up into your required portions for the fridge or freezer. If you want to use it for gravy, reduce it by half by boiling it for 20-30 mins. Then add a little butter in a separate pan, lightly fry an onion on medium heat and add 1.5 tablespoons of buckwheat flour (for about 500mls stock), then slowly add your stock.
Picture below is how much chicken stock is from one carcass when it’s reduced. Approximately 2.5 litres.
Beef broth ~
Organic grass fed beef bones
Two tablespoons cider vinegar
Same vegetables, herbs and seasoning from above.
Roast the bones in the oven for half an hour at 200. Add to the boiled water and vinegar and cook in slow cooker at low for 42 hours, add the veg and other ingredients for the last 6 hours bringing the total cooking time to 48 hours. Leave to cool and then put in the fridge overnight. With the beef broth you will need to skim the fat off the top before you jar it. You can always keep the fat in the freezer too in small portions and use it defrosted for occasional high heat cooking.
Lamb broth ~
Organic grass fed lamb bones
Two table spoons cider vinegar
Same vegetables, herbs and seasoning from above.
Roast the bones in the oven for half an hour at 200. Add to the boiled water and vinegar and cook in slow cooker at low for 30 hours, add the veg and other ingredients for the last 6 hours bringing the total cooking time to 36 hours. Leave to cool and then put in the fridge overnight. With the lamb broth you may need to skim the fat off the top before you jar it. You can always keep the fat in the freezer too in small portions and use it defrosted for occasional high heat cooking.