Saturday, 1 March 2014

Oxtail Broth

The benefits of broth are boundless. You can read a full breakdown of the mineral content at Mark's Daily Apple but in basic terms it's crammed full of gelatine, collagen and calcium in easily digestible form which the body can utilise immediately. Medicinal use of broth is common in many families as treatment for colds or flu and I've found it to be the best hangover cure since a bacon sandwich and banana milkshake. Having done a little experimentation with beef bones, I've found the best broth — which sets like jelly when cooled — comes from using oxtail, either exclusively or as a blend with other beef bones.

You will need:
1.5kg oxtail
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 carrots
3 celery sticks
1 onion
250g vegetable peel and trimmings (optional)
Frying pan
Large stainless steel stock pan with lid

1. Firstly place the pieces of oxtail in a frying pan over a high heat to brown on all sides.

2. Once browned, remove the oxtail pieces and deglaze the pan with a little water or red wine to release the cooking juices and any tiny pieces of caramelised meat from the bottom. Pour this into a large stock pan.

3. Add three sticks of celery, an onion (or several shallots in this case) and three carrots all roughly chopped. You can also use leftover peelings and trimmings from other meals which keep well in the freezer. Onion peel adds a rich brown hue to the finished liquid.

4. Place the oxtail and all vegetables into the stock pan.

5. Add three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar — preferably unfiltered — and enough cold water to cover the ingredients.

It won't look particularly appetising at this stage... 
6. Pop a lid on the pan and turn up the heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down as low as possible. The aim is for the pan to be simmering for 12+ hours so it needs to be low and slow. Extended periods at high heat are likely to destroy some of the nutrients.

7. After 12 hours you may wish to take the broth off the heat, strain and enjoy but it's worth noting that you can simmer the broth in excess of two days or until the bones have dissolved. Even after 12 hours, with a high enough acid content from the vinegar, you may find the bones crumble when touched meaning their mineral content has successfully been transferred to your healthy and delicious broth.

I aim to drink around a pint of this a day which not only gives me energy in a super-light and easily digestible form, but also inhibits my hunger pangs and meat cravings. And before bed time it relaxes me into a blissful sleep state.

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