First of all, before I even get into the content of this book, or how I felt about it, I have to get something off of my chest; I hate the term “bone broth,” it's a misnomer. The very words are going to send vegetarians fleeing, and with good reason as it tends to present a rather frightening image. It may also have you thinking that meatless broths are not included in this book. After all, mushrooms have no bones, vegetables have no bones, clams have no bones (a shell is not a bone, don't argue with me). And, call me old fashioned, but I grew up with the word “stock” (as in beef, chicken, and vegetable), and am likely to continue calling it as such. Whew. I feel much better now.
Marco Canora's book Brodo, A Bone Broth Cookbook is a must have, no bones about it (if you'll pardon the pun). This is a book that should be on the shelves of every home cook, its importance being similar to that of Irma Rombach's Joy of Cooking. The key ingredient in any soup or stew, in many sauces and casseroles, is a good stock base. This book teaches you how to make that base. Forget the flavorless stocks that you've been buying in cartons or cans, buy this book instead, and delve into the fascinating world of making your own. The depth of flavor, not to mention added nutrition that homemade stock is going to give your dishes is going to be remarkable. While there are many differences between a good cook and an average one, one of the main ones is a good quality stock. Making your own is going to improve every dish that you prepare.
This book has an interesting back story. Canora, after a health scare years ago, decided to add more nutrition to his diet via flavorful broths. This endeavor was a success, and, because he wanted to share his knowledge, began selling his flavorful broths by the cupful from a window in his East Village restaurant. It was a hit, and thus this book was born. It is no secret that broths are healthful. Grandma knew this years ago when she'd bring you chicken soup any time you were ailing. Now there is actual science behind the healing properties of this healthful liquid. The great value of this book, of course, is in teaching you how to do it.
This book is equal part text and recipes. You will learn a lot about the author, his experiences, and absolutely everything you have every wanted to know about broth. You will learn how to put your own personal spin on the broths through the addition of various add-ins and infusions. In addition to recipes for the broth itself, you will also find recipes for using the broths such as delicious risottos, and what a difference homemade broth is going to make in your next batch of risotto!
The recipes in this book are for making large (read: 9 quarts in some cases) of broth. Don't be put off by this. Recipes can be halved or quartered. I was particularly intrigued by the mushroom broth because I love all things mushroom, and am always looking for ways to improve my homemade mushroom soup, so made this recipe first. I pulled a four-quart stock pot out of the cupboard and adjusted the quantity of ingredients accordingly. It was marvelous!
One thing I found here is that even a seasoned veteran like me can learn something new. In all of my years of making stock, I had never roasted or seared any of the vegetables beforehand. Learning this technique alone is well worth the cost of the book. What an amazing richness this gives even the simplest of broths!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.