Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quinn Wilson's Bone Broth

Close to two years ago, Quinn Wilson, a San Diego chef I've known for several years, approached me with two concepts she was developing into a business. One was a master tonic that features freshly grated horseradish, fresh chiles, onions, ginger root, and garlic cloves. It's meant to alleviate colds and viruses, along with assisting with a number of other health-related issues. Whether it does or not, it's got an interesting flavor and the solids are wonderful for cooking. So, I featured it here, along with the recipe.   

The other concept Quinn was working on was a bone broth that she turned into a business called Balanced and Bright. Now bone broth has become quite the trend. The claims are that this ancient remedy can assist in the repair of joints and bone tissue; improve hair, skin, and nails, thanks to the collagen released from the bones; alleviate acne, promote fertility, help in post-surgical healing, and provide symptom relief for autoimmune disorders. In fact, there is a long list of ways it's suggested bone broth can be healthful.

I have no opinion on it one way or the other since I have no medical training. And, Quinn acknowledges that there is still no scientific evidence for how bone broth works or confirmation of its long-term benefits. What I do know is that it tastes delicious. And since I grew up with chicken soup--the Jewish penicillin--who am I to doubt the beneficial effects of broth, especially if it's made with care and good ingredients.

Well, Quinn came at this at exactly the right time. An avid social media participant, publisher Sonoma Press discovered her on Instagram. They were looking for someone to write a book on bone broth and picked her. Quinn had five weeks to produce a manuscript and recipes. She met her deadline and the book, Bone Broth: 101 Essential Recipes & Age-Old Remedies to Heal Your Body, has just been published.

In the book Quinn has provided a thorough explanation of bone broth and its history. She also explains how to select bones--whether those of large animals or poultry, rabbits or game birds or fish. She addresses the various ingredients you'll need to make her basic broths, cooking methods (pressure cooker, stove top, or slow cooker), and how to store it. She even explains techniques for effective clean up since it can be a messy process, complicated by fat. 

The basic broths range from beef, chicken, duck, and lamb to pork, rabbit, wild game, fish, and shellfish. Her Master Tonic is included, as is a joint soother, pregnancy broth, cleaning broth, stomach soother, and thyroid support broth, among others. 

I visited Quinn at her home and she first prepared a drink I had my doubts about, called The Cinnamon Roll. It's made with a neutral broth--one that omits vegetables in favor of ginger and fennel--as well as cinnamon, coconut sugar (or honey or stevia), and pastured butter. A sweet broth? It didn't sound promising. But I was won over. It was lovely, with a rich subtle flavor that was comforting.

In fact, Quinn adds neutral broth to all sorts of unusual applications--smoothies, hot chocolate, cocktails, pancakes, brownies, and other desserts. The savory recipes range from French Onion Soup, Ratatouille, Chicken or Rabbit Mole, and Poached Scallops to Braised Lamb, Pork Agrodolce, Posole, and this marvelous Autumnal Pork Stew below.

Quinn created the stew recipe on a whim, adding some very strange ingredients, like orange marmalade, brandy, and smoked sausage. But it works. She made it for me and I loved both the textures and the sweet slightly smoky flavor, made complex with citrus and spices. It's rich, aromatic, and satisfying--especially on a chilly day or night.   

Autumnal Pork Stew
From Bone Broth: 101 Essential Recipes & Age-Old Remedies to Heal Your Body by Quinn Farrar Wilson

Serves 8 to 10
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook:             Slow Cooker:
                        4 hours on high
                        8 hours on low

·      This autumnal stew gets better the longer it sits. For an extra flavorful stew, prepare it a day before serving.

1 teaspoon tallow (or some other cooking fat, coconut oil, etc.)
1 (1 ½ pound) pork shoulder, cubed
½ cup finely chopped smoked pork sausage
4 cups diced butternut squash
1 large white onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
½ fuji apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
3 ½ cups bone broth of your choice
¼ cup brandy
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 sage sprigs, tied into a bundle
1 ½ teaspoons Celtic sea salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1.     In a large pan, heat the tallow over med high heat. Add the pork cubes and cook until well browned, stirring frequently. Transfer to a slow cooker using a slotted spoon.
2.   Add the sausage to the pan and brown well. Transfer to the slow cooker.
3.   Add the butternut squash, onion, fennel, apple, bone broth, brandy, orange marmalade and sage to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
4.   Stir in the salt and apple cider vinegar. Serve.

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