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Piggyback Bone and Vegetable Broth
slow cooker (1-2 gallons depending on size)
1. Put bones in slow cooker and fill with water.
2. Simmer on high for at least 6 hours, or low 8 hours, up to 18 hours.
3. Strain through a cheesecloth or flour sack towel.
4. Keep bones and a few cups of broth in the slow cooker.
5. Break up the softened bones to reveal the marrow
6. Add vegetables to slow cooker and fill with water.
7. Simmer on high for at least 6 hours, or low for up to 18 more hours.
8. Remove any vegetables desired for consumption at appropriate time (when soft, but not pulped)
9. Strain broth and discard bones.
10. Store in refrigerator or freeze in individual portions for easy use.
11. Only add salt and herbs to taste when serving or using in recipe.
I generally use the bones of 2 chickens and 4-6 feet. Any combination of necks, backs, feet, and bones are good; the more bones you use, the stronger and more nutritious your broth with be.
My usual piggyback is 3-4 stalks of celery, an onion and some carrots. The ultimate flavor can be achieved with celery root (celeriac).
After 4-6 hours, remove the root vegetables so they can be chopped and used in soup or recipes, and let the rest continue simmering.
My single biggest secret of keeping a nutritious diet while fighting Lyme and MCAS is this: making a huge batch of broth, freezing it in individual portions, then throwing the "blocks" into a big bag in the freezer. When I'm too sick to cook, I chuck a block or two in the microwave, and I have an incredibly healing meal with very little effort. For histamine intolerance/MCAS use an instant pot, or stove top for only 2 hours, and don't piggyback. I was able to tolerate bone broth when my MCAS was at its worse, but not everyone can.
Bone broth is the staple of a healing diet. We all know that "chicken soup" is the remedy for cold and flu. Unfortunately, what passes for chicken soup from the grocery store does NOT have the healing power of real, homemade, nutritious broth, and contains so many additives and flavorings, it probably does more damage than healing. If you want to heal yourself and your family, and provide true help to those in need, you must learn to make real soup.
You can find endless information about bone broth with a quick google search - nutrition, benefits, collagen, studies, flavor profiles, recipes, you name it. Feel free to do your research, or save yourself a lot of time and just trust me! I am not a Bone Broth Aficionado. I like it simple: you boil a pot full of animal bones.
I buy my meat from local farms that pasture-raise and grass-feed their animals. Animal sourcing is another subject you can and should research on your own. All I will say here is that given the environmental and chemical toxins that can accumulate in tissues, fat, and marrow of animals, I would NOT be comfortable making broth out of conventional grocery store meat, especially not the $5 rotisserie chickens (they come with a lot of soy and flavoring). If you haven't made the switch to pastured meats yet, it probably won't do you any extra harm to use those for bone broth. However, for healing yourself or providing for someone else who is sick, do us all a favor and use quality bones: grass-fed, pasture-raised, never-any. Organic is not as important as being pastured, and "natural" is a totally useless marketing tool - also terms you can research on your own.
To make bone broth, you put a bunch of bones in a pot, cover with filtered or distilled water, and bring it to a boil. Then you simmer until cooked. Strain through a cheesecloth or flour sack towel. For stovetop, simmer at least 2 hours, or until all meat is cooked. For slow cooker, simmer at least 6 hours.
The more bones and time, the stronger the flavor. You can use bones saved up from dishes you've already cooked, or you can use raw bones with meat still on. Chicken feet, necks, backs, and big marrow bones make the richest, most nutritious broths. If you just have a plain old chicken carcass, that works too - just simmer it longer with less water.
You can add vegetables and herbs, but I like it plain, with salt only added when serving or cooking in the final dish.
I call this piggyback soup because it allows you to get the most nutrition out of your bones, double the quantity, save money, and provide plenty to be used in recipes for the entire week. It's going to allow you to cook faster and have emergency rations on-hand for the Whole30/L4L Challenge.
To piggyback, make a strong pot of bone broth first, then strain it, but leave a few cups of broth and all the bones in the pot. Add a bunch of vegetables of choice, cover with water, and boil another pot of broth. This second pot can be eaten as-is if you like the flavor, or used as a base stock for other recipes. The root vegetables can be removed after a few hours when softened, and eaten in the soup, or prepared for another recipe.
I use this method to piggyback my food prep for up to 3 different recipes: it provides cooked meat, cooked vegetables, and a whole pot of soup at once!