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8branches Chinese Medicine

Bone soup

Photo courtesy of mylifeasafoodie.com

It’s still winter and at 8branches,  we often recommend bone soup  for it’s wonderful warming and healing properties. The season brings cold temperatures as well as “cold exterior attacks,” sometimes manifesting in the body as a stiff neck/upper body, sneezing, body aches – what many know as early symptoms of the cold or flu.  Keeping the immune system strong or what we refer to in Chinese medicine as “wei qi” will help prevent these attacks and keep you healthier and shorten the duration, should you get sick.  Also, the nutritious and nourishing properties will help bone, connective tissue, blood, and gut health.

Find out why broth is beautiful here.  It’s great for children, their grandparents, and everyone in between.  Get creative and add the broth to sauces, use as soup/stew bases and as a replacement for water to flavor your rice, quinoa or other grains – you never need to buy expensive boxed broth again!

We’ve also found a recipe for vegetarians as an alternative to bone mineral broth. 

Roasted bone marrow is not only decadently rich and flavorful, but also jam-packed with nutrients. Speaking of jam, the buttery, jelly-like consistency will fill your kitchen with savory aromas as it roasts. I decided to give my system a warm burst of nutrition and try my hand at roasted bone soup on a frosty February Sunday.

Savory Lotus has a great recipe, but definitely feel free to put your own spin on it. It might be the easiest soup you ever make.

I bought beef bones from Whole Foods on the East Side. The butcher ushered me over to the freezer where there were kept and mentioned that he’s had several requests recently. Looks like word is getting around. I bought about two pounds of bones for my 16-quart crock-pot.

I chose to roast the bones for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. I then transferred the bones to a crock-pot, filled it to the top with water, and threw in three small onions and four cloves of garlic (quartered). I left the crock-pot on low and let it cook for eight hours. Some errand-running, reading, and exercising ensued. Before I knew it, a whole day had passed and my bone soup was nearly set.

You can literally toss in whatever you wish while it cooks – parsnips, carrots, potatoes, etc. I left it alone and added one bunch of scallions (probably a half of a bunch would have been better) and a cup and a half of frozen kale when it was done cooking. Then I added a few hearty shakes of salt and pepper and spooned in.

In all honesty, it was a little bland even after roasting and simmering for as long as it did, but I slurped up a bowl and it certainly warmed  me up. Next time, I will try less water and see if adding more veggies as it cooks enhances the flavor.

After you store your leftovers in the refrigerator, you will notice a  white layer of fat usually settles at the top. Feel free to scrape off a little before you eat again. It will dissipate when you reheat, so don’t take it all off – that’s where all the good stuff is!

About the author: Let me start by saying, I am a writer, not a chef. And even though I’m a Milwaukee native, my body can’t stand the cold. As a journalist, I am naturally curious, so always happy to try a new recipe or cure for one of my ailments. I have been an 8branches client for about six months and continue to find ways to incorporate ancient medicine into my modern lifestyle in my elusive quest for balance. You might have seen my post about using acupuncture to manage my migraines. At 8branches, I feel empowered and optimistic about my health and wellness, no matter what the day throws at me.