Maybe you've heard about it by now, but broth is well, hot, in every way. Since the Paleo diet has risen in popularity thanks, in part, to celebrity endorsers like Jessica Biel and Matthew McConaughey, there’s been much to-do about these flavorful stocks, staples in the Paleo lifestyle. Case in point: the around-the-corner lines outside of NYC's recently opened broth-to-go outpost Brodo, where customers can order a cup of the warm liquid and customize it with sophisticated add-ins like freshly grated turmeric and bone marrow. It's chef Marco Canora's newest venture, and attached to his ever-popular restaurant, Hearth. Here he weighs in on why this unlikely beverage is trending, plus how to make your own killer concoction at home.
What made you interested in broth?
Well, I grew up in upstate New York. My mom came over when she was 18 from Lucca, Italy, with her sister. I was very, very lucky to have a mom and an aunt that came from old world Europe, where they cared so much about food. Broth was a big part of our holiday meals: every Christmas and Easter we'd start with a broth-based soup. And when we were sick, it was always broth. It's the world's first comfort food, especially when it's made with a couple tablespoons of pastina and some Parmesan cheese. The flavors are insane.
Why do you think people are jumping on the broth bandwagon?
The entire country is veering towards caring more about what they consume, which is fantastic, and I’m incredibly happy to be a part of that. Plus, there are the health benefits: proteins and the amino acids in broth help with the lining of your intestines. And once you fix that, you fix a lot of things. I feel like my digestion is better. It just makes me feel good. But even if you throw away all those benefits, it’s just really delicious, warming and satisfying.
When do you find yourself drinking it?
When you’re cold for sure—it warms me from the inside out. Plus, I think that we all just eat too much, especially New Yorkers. So I come in in the morning and drink this until I’m really hungry. So in a way it’s a meal replacement for me for part of the day. And it works. It’s really satisfying.
Can you give us a quick recipe?
It’s kind of embarrassing how easy it is. First, whatever bones you want, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s some chicken bones or pork bones or beef bones or whatever. If you cook at home a lot and you accumulate every bone over the course of a month in your freezer, and then pile in a pot, cover them with water about 3-4 inches, boil it for 5-7 hours. Then add the mirepoix—carrots, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorn, whatever—and boil it for another hour or two. Then you have a delicious stock.
Any tips to keep in mind?
Bone to water ratio is critical because you have to extract something that has flavor. But most important, especially if you want to get health benefits, is to use clean, good, meat. Unhealthy animals have bad bones and you’re not going to get the good stuff out of them.
Which bones are the most flavorful?
Beef neck bones are usually good because they’re very meaty, and meaty bones mean flavorful broth.
Any special ingredients you like to add in?
I’m always grating turmeric in it. Or adding shiitake tea (the water from soaking dry shiitakes) which adds so much depth and flavor. Plus, roasted garlic puree, ginger juice, beet kvass (fermented beet juice). Now I’m doing bone marrow as an add-in too: You just put in a heaping teaspoon and the heat melts it and it’s a bone marrow float.
If you want to check out more recipes from Marco, check out his latest book, A Good Food Day, available now.