Making Bone Broth and Dumplings

I have recently begun to make "bone broth" in my small pressure cooker. Bone broth is what you get when you cook for an extended time, the bones and connective tissue of meaty joints. Its the joints that are important and contain the collagen and silica. Cooking joints and bones in the pressure cooker significantly reduces the time. An hour under pressure is the same as just boiling for an entire day, but if you don't use a pressure cooker, you can gain the same thing by cooking the joints for a couple of days.

What you get from this is collagen, silica, gelatin, high protein, anti-inflammatory amino acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, B vitamins and a lot more.

Bone broth does not contain a lot of minerals, but if you add vegetables when you make the broth, they will add minerals. Save your onion skins, carrot and celery tops. These scraps, usually thrown away, will add a lot of flavour and minerals to your broth. Add any other vegetables and herbs to the pot with the bones, at the start, then strain the broth at the end of the cooking period. I like to add some carrots, onion, celery and garlic for flavour, a lot of spinach and parsley, also some bay leaves, thyme and oregano. If I had nettles in mid-winter, I would add those too. These all go into the pressure cooker with the bones and joints to cook for an hour under pressure. Other things I have considered adding to the pressure cooker, but have not done so yet, are dried plantain and calendula. it all gets strained out. If I want a few vegetables in my soup, I add them after, with the noodles.

If I'm not ready to use this immediately, it gets strained and put into the freezer. I usually freeze things like this in ice cube trays, then put into freezer bags for use in small amounts, as needed. 

I occasionally use this as a base for chicken noodle soup (pictured below), if made with chicken or turkey. I usually make stew with moose/beef joints. Bone broth can also be sipped by itself in a cup for a nourishing lunch or snack. 

I use wide, flat egg noodles in my soup. We like their texture a lot better than regular pasta noodles. I have used chopped spaghetti noodles, and they are good too, but we prefer the egg noodles and I think they freeze better. 

I recently made bone broth from a turkey. They are cheap just before Christmas! I deboned the whole turkey and used the carcass to make three pressure cookers full of bone broth. I made a lot of chicken noodle soup for the freezer from 2/3 of the total broth amount. I used the rest to make chicken stew for dinner tonight. I didn't have to add much in the way of vegetables, knowing what had gone into the broth. I did add potatoes, carrots and broccoli. 

For the first time in many years, I made dumplings, the easy way. I bought a can of Pillsbury Country Biscuits, the kind that comes in a spiral cardboard can. (No, they are no paying me anything for putting this in my blog.) I cut the raw biscuits into quarters and dropped them into the boiling stew, put on the lid, turned the heat down, and cooked for about 16-17 minutes. They were delicious and perfectly cooked, light, fluffy and delicious! 

I know I could not have made better dumplings from scratch! Using canned biscuits for dumplings is something my mother used to do and took a lot of criticism for, but now I see why. So easy, fluffy, tender and very, very good! I will never again make dumplings from scratch!