A one pot wonder. The most marvelous take on food ever. We’re talking one pot to prep, cook and clean, period. Say good-bye to hand washing pot… after pot… after pot. Ugh, if only there were dish-washing fairies. So because there are no fairies that I know of, this pot of hearty, healthy deliciousness is going to save you some serious time. And time is money, right?
Speaking of healthy, lets talk about bones. I mean Halloween is quickly approaching so why not. Ahh gotch ya, not those kind of bones. Geesh, who do you think I am? I’m actually speaking of the health benefits of animal bones. Yes, cooking with bones, in meat, it happens, it’s just not common. But do all you carnivores realize the benefits of cooking with bones? You know the white, hard thing found in some cuts of meat? If you don’t know, I don’t blame you, rarely can you find a bone in a piece of meat anymore, especially those cuts sold at your local grocery store.
They really have become non-existent, which is actually quite alarming. Sure I get it, when meat is weighed per pound, you don’t want to pay extra money for something so dense that you aren’t even going to eat. But what if I tell you that the bone could very well be the most nutritious part of the meat? Wh-wh-what? Yep, that bone is chalked full of healthy vitamins and thus you should be looking for those precious cuts with bones in them. Some may even go as far to say that bones are a super foods. And I don’t say that word lightly.
So lets get to know these bones a little more in depth shall we?
Nutritional Benefits of Bones
As the cuts of meat that contain the bones cook in liquid, especially that made slightly acidic with the inclusion of any type of vinegar, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water creating the most delicious, mineral rich broth you could imagine. This now mineral and nutrient infused liquid that has been leached from the bone is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other trace minerals. These minerals are very bioavailable meaning they are readily available for use in the body. This nutrient dense liquid also contains large amounts of glucosamine and chondroiton both of which help mitigate the effects of arthritis and joint pain. And do we need to mention the gelatinous goodness? Full of collagen, the getlain which is an excellent source of protein has also been show to fight against degenerative joint disease and is one of the leading healers of digestive issues.
Cooking with bone is thought to actually increase the desired flavor of the meat. Some would say this is debatable but regardless, meat with bones does serve one important function; it insulates the meat, slowing the cooking process and providing less surface area to lose moisture. No one likes to gnaw on a piece of dry meat, right? So the bone is there to help moderate the cooking process.
In fact, bone on its own is actually a superior conductor of heat than the meat itself. However, bone is not solid it is actually a honeycomb structure that includes many air spaces making it a good insulator. This also means that meat with bones will actually take longer to cook. And when testing your meat insert the thermometer away from the bone as testing too close will give you an artificially low reading. Hence where the saying “tender at the bone” comes from. The closer to the bone the more rare the meat and thus the more tender.
There are two types of homemade fragrant, glistening liquid that is so full of flavor store bought counterparts simply can’t compare. These types of liquid are categorized as;
- STOCK: A stock is made mostly of bone.
- BROTH: A broth contains more of the meat and cartilage along with the bone providing more of the gelatinous goodness.
However both are very comparable and thus many recipes use them interchangeably. So what is the best way to get all of nutrient rich, superfood goodness? COOK WITH BONES! Have I sold you yet? Of course all of the nutrients in the bone depend on what the animal ate, how it lived, where it live, mineral content of whatever it ate, the nutrient density of whatever it ate. All of these factors contribute to the composition and content of the bones, joints and cartilage. Quality does matter.
So opt for whole animals or bone in segments. The meat will be tastier, stay fresher longer and give you some good broth or stock making bones when it is all done. Not to mention how economical, healthy, delicious and versatile homemade stock really is. There is nothing like a homemade broth, rich, fragrant, and glistening with little droplets of fat that make a granola like my heart go pitter-patter.
Thus why this one-pot-wonder really is a superstar in the nutrient category. Loaded with lots of fresh, seasonal produce, good quality chicken, fresh herbs and healthy fats. It is so satisfying you can almost feel your body heal from eating it. As we said in the beginning, you can’t not make this because it is simply a one pot wonder!
- 1 whole bone-in chicken, cut up in pieces.
- Freshly cracked salt & pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ lb. white mushrooms, sliced
- 3 slices of thick bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 3 T. butter
- 2 large springs of rosemary, thyme and sage
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 3 cups sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (peeling is optional)
- Chop sage, thyme and rosemary. Add to 3 T. butter with freshly cracked salt and pepper. Rub all over chicken on both sides and set aside.
- Preheat the dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat.
- Add the bacon, onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot and cook until onions are translucent and bacon is crisp.
- Remove the bacon and vegetable mixture from the pan and set aside.
- Raise the heat and add the chicken in the pot, ensuring both sides are brown. Saute in two batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
- Pour off excess fat and deglaze the pane with red wine vinegar and water.
- Reduce heat to medium low.
- Return the bacon, mushroom and onion mixture to the pot and mix in the potatoes, squash and apples.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and cover.
- Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
- Garnish with additional rosemary.