Bone Broths: Part 2 (Recipes!)

My husband and I have different approaches to broth. His passion for broth is all about flavor. My passion for broth is all about the health benefits. So, while I make a scrappy and nutritious version, his broth is admittedly the most delicious. So we’ll start with his recipe. He went on a mission to perfect his broth making technique a few years ago, inspired by the broth at a particular Vietnamese restaurant in  Honolulu. Here’s what he learned from that chef, and worked out on his own. 

A Luxurious Broth recipe:


  • 2 lbs of Raw Bones (knuckle preferably, or shin)
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 4-5 stalks of celery
  • 3 carrots, halved lengthwise
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger
  • Small bunch of cilantro
  • Small bunch of parsley 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Spices for cheese cloth pouch:
    • ½ Tablespoon Whole Peppercorns
    • ½ Teaspoon allspice berries
    • 2 stars of star anise
    • 3 green cardamom pods
    • 1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 Teaspoon whole coriander seed
    • ½ teaspoon fennel seed or anise seed
    •  ½ Teaspoon Juniper berries (omit if pregnant or trying to conceive)
  • 3 quarts of water
  • ½ Tablespoon of Salt
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar 

Ingredients for bone broth



    1. Blanch the bones. Bring to a boil a pot of water big enough to submerge bones. Add the bones and boil for 10 minutes. Other recipes will tell you to skim the broth, but this initial blanching makes it easier to skip the frequent skimming. (Skip this step if you’re using bones that have already been cooked in some other form.) Discard the liquid and put the bones on a roasting pan.
    2. Roast everything. Preheat oven to 400° F. On a large pan, place your bones, carrots, stalks of celery, halved onion, and a large thumb of ginger. Roast it all for 10 – 15 minutes. As the ingredients start to brown and the sugars in the vegetables carmelize, take them off and throw them in the pot of a slow cooker. 
    3. Add herbs & garlic. A handful of cilantro and parsley, bay leaves, and 3 cloves of garlic to the pot. 
    4. Add the spice pouch. Wrap the spices loosely in a cheesecloth pouch so they don’t just float to the top. If you really want to maximize flavor, you can lightly toast spices in a dry pan on the stovetop first. Adjust spices to your taste preferences. 
    5. Cover with water. About 3 quarts will cover it, depending on the size of your pot.

  • Add the vinegar, salt & sugar. A little acid is essential to break down and release many of the beneficial properties of the bones. Preference for a good quality sherry vinegar but you can substitute apple cider vinegar. If avoiding sugar, use a half apple or a few dates.  


  1. Cook it low and slow. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to the lowest heat option on the slow cooker and let it go for 10- 12 hours. You can also do it on the stove top in a large stock pot, covered and on very low heat, if you happen to be home all day. After the first cook, strain and reserve the liquid, then refill with more water. Add more vinegar, salt and sugar, and cook it for another 10-12 hours, and strain again. Mix the 2 batches to balance out the intensity of the flavor from each cook. 
  2. Finally, enjoy! Drink it as is, use it as the base for a soup, or cook grains or beans with the broth. Once the broth is chilled, a layer of fat will usually separate and solidify at the top of the jar. You can remove it before you reheat the broth if you want a lighter broth. You can also use it in place of oil when sauteing vegetables. We often freeze half of the broth batch, so it stays good while we finish the first half. 


A Scrappy Broth recipe:

This is the version of broth I make most frequently. Nothing is measured, and it varies depending on what I have on hand. I’ll use the leftover carcass from a roasted chicken, once most of the meat is picked off. Or, in summer, when I’m not roasting chicken as often, I’ve found whole chicken carcasses at the farmers market for a great deal. Chicken and lamb is my favorite combination of flavors for broth, but any combination of chicken, duck, lamb, pork, and beef bones will work. As for vegetables, you can experiment with other vegetable add-ins, but I recommend avoiding brassicas (broccoli/kale family) since they have such a sulfurous smell when they’re over-cooked.

Ingredients (which I’ve never measured):

  • Chicken carcass
  • Lamb or pork bones
  • Mushrooms, stems of shitakes, button mushrooms that dried up in the back of the fridge, dried reishi, porcini, or wood ear mushrooms
  • Vegetables:
    • Carrots (can include peels of scrubbed carrots)
    • Carrot tops
    • Celery stem tips and heart
    • Onion/Allium- can include the skin or use leek tops instead, which will make a darker broth. Can also use scallions or chives if short on onions.  
    • Parsley and cilantro stems
    • Fennel stalks & fronds
    • Parsnip peels or ends
  • Herbs & spices:
    • Ginger
    • Licorice
    • Dates
    • Goji berries
    • White mulberries (dried) 
    • Dang Gui/ Tangkuei root
    • Astragalus root
    • Fu Ling
    • Cinnamon stick
    • Fennel seeds
    • Cardamom pods- black or green
    • Kelp/ dulse/ kombu
  • Water
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Salt (optional – can add to taste at the end)


  1. Cover all the ingredients in the pot of a slow-cooker and simmer for 10-12 hours.
  2. Strain and reserve the liquid.
  3. Replace reserved liquid with fresh water, vinegar and salt, and cook ingredients for another 10-12 hours.
  4. Strain and mix the two batches, then refrigerate. 

In addition to all the benefits from the slow cooked bones, this broth gets a nutritional boost from herbs and spices that are listed here. They are all part of the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia, but they can also be used nutritionally (as opposed to medicinally) in lower quantities. Here’s a brief description of their special powers:

Ginger, licorice and dates are a trio of herbs that commonly appear together in Chinese Herbal formulas, and help to boost the digestive power to improve the absorption of other herbs in a formula.

Goji berries, mulberries and dang gui are blood nourishing herbs. While goji berries and mulberries are sweet, dang gui has a pungent taste that can overpower a broth, so don’t use too much. 

Astragalus is a qi tonifying herb that can support the immune system. It’s considered an adaptogen, so it can help the body respond to a variety of stressors.

Fu Ling is a type of fungus, also known as Poria. It’s chalky texture makes it less enjoyable to eat, but it’s used as a medicinal, and in lower doses in porridge or broth, where it can help regulate fluid balance and drain excess fluid from the body. It can help digestion and calm the mind.

Cinnamon, cardamom and fennel, besides being delicious, are all warming herbs that can transform phlegm and damp, and help with indigestion, respectively.

Kelp and other seaweeds are salty and cooling, and can move and regulate fluids in the body. Kelp is also one of the best natural sources of iodine which can support healthy thyroid function. 


Too busy to make your own broth?

When you don’t have time to make your own broth, you can find a wide range of frozen, shelf stable, or dehydrated bone broths. When choosing among commercially made broth, look for bones that are sourced from pasture raised or grass fed animals, and organic ingredients. Also, check the sodium levels since some companies add an excessive amount of salt.  

We highly recommend broth from the company Broth Masters. You can pick up their frozen Beef & Chicken bone broth at our office.  We love this one because it’s a family owned business and made in small batches. It uses only the highest quality ingredients, simmered for at least 48 hours to pull out as many nutrients as possible. Also it does not include salt, so you can add salt to each person’s tastes.  

Erin’s interest in Chinese herbs stems from her love for horticulture, primarily organic gardening. Her work with plants and the earth primed her for the mental shift of studying Chinese medicine, which has a similar ecosystem approach to health and the human body. As a certified herbalist, you can feel confident in reaching out to Erin with any questions via email at Book a visit with Erin through our site here.

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