Twelve Awesome Broth-Tails and Nightcap Recipes

 I have always loved making meat stock/broth, enough to write a crazy manifesto about it. I transitioned easily to finding more uses for bone broth in cooking once going Paleo. (I think I prefer it most reduced into a thick, silky sauce with sauteed greens.) I make a lot of both chicken and beef bone broth and store it in a range of amounts. Over time, I slowly began to really enjoy drinking it. Bone broth is not only great to make and use for cooking. It’s also a very scrumptious beverage. Really, I swear.
As I write this, it’s winter. Once cold weather officially arrived, my body decided that sipping broth before bed was a biological necessity. I was hooked. If I don’t have my nightly bone broth by 8 pm, my body gets grumpy. I can feel my stomach tug insistently on my esophagus, sending up the none-too-polite request to get the bone broth party started. In fact, I’m thinking of getting a smoking jacket to wear whilst I enjoy this healthy nightcap. Sitting down with a toasty warm 16 oz. mug of homemade bone broth… Mmm.

But after a while of drinking it plain, in turmeric tea, and with grated ginger, I got bored. The honeymoon was over. And I began to envision a new kind of bar that included nutritious stir-ins and pick-me-ups to make the broth experience more fun, and maybe sneak in a little more nutrition in the process. Let it be known throughout the world: I am officially bringing back the nightcap. Save the tea to fling in Boston Harbor. It’s about to get tasty in here.

The Inspiration

Have you ever had Lipton Cup-a-Soup? You know, the soup-like foodstuff packaged so that you can rip it open, dump it in a mug, add hot water, and suddenly you have drinkable soup? It comes in a few different flavors: French-ish Onion Soup, Chicken-esque Noodle, and Creamy Chicken Tetrachloride. I used to love having that in my desk at work for when I had a cold – or was just feeling cold. I started thinking how, with the help of a dehydrator and gelatin, I could make a much, much tastier version of a drinkable soup in a mug.

Getting Started

These nightcaps purposefully use ingredients common to the Paleo kitchen, including several where you can save small leftovers from meals you have already prepared to repurpose later. I assemble these nightcaps when I am warming up the bone broth. It just takes 1-2 minutes. I freeze my bone broth in jars with handles, and then warm up the jars either in a saucepan water bath or the microwave. I do this out of sheer laziness. You didn’t want me to say that I was super organized, did you? Because I’m not.

While your broth reheats, you have a few moments to assemble your nightcap ingredients. If the nightcap involves coconut milk, you get a creamier texture if you stir in the milk over a little heat. (Options are almond or cashew or other nut milk) To keep these nightcaps drinkable, keep food pieces small enough to be safe for you to swallow unchewed. I either mince the ingredients or use a food processor/blender to cut things up. If you have a swallowing dysfunction, respect your limits.

 Salt and pepper each to your personal taste, and based on how much you have already salted your bone broth/stock. (I tend to salt my broth very little until I know how I will use the broth and salt accordingly later). These recipes work equally well with chicken, beef, pork, and turkey bone broths. You can even use store-bought broth if desired.
Each recipe is scaled for 1 cup (8 oz.) of the bone broth of your choice.

The toppings tend to soak in the broth and remain at the bottom of cup, leaving you with a final treat to enjoy. The swizzle sticks are either enjoyable in their own right, or add to the flavor of the nightcap. You can also pick out tasty bits in your nightcap with the swizzle stick. Want easier swizzle sticks? I love popsicle sticks or coffee stirrers for lazy days. Don’t like coconut oil or milk? Leave it out, or substitute nut milk or a dairy product.

If you are following a Paleo diet, ensure that any condiments you are using are gluten- and dairy-free. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free now, but you can also evaluate alternatives such as coconut aminos or gluten free tamari or vegan alternatives.

A few nightcaps suggest a touch of alcohol for the adventurous, but follow the guidelines of your personal nutrition protocol. I don’t drink personally, but I am mindful that developing a bone broth nightcap habit is not easy for everyone. Sometimes you need to grease the wheels. You could always be super hip and serve these to your friends. What about making a nightcap for a loved one of yours who really should be drinking bone broth but won’t… yet?

Don’t forget: it’s always broth-o’-clock somewhere in the world!

 Day 1: The French Connection

1 tsp Dijon mustard, preferably coarse grain

2 tsp minced shallots

1 tsp herbes de Provence or equivalent amount of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and lavender

Dash of champagne vinegar – or a few drops of cognac

Topping: 1 tsp rosemary leaves

Swizzle stick: rosemary twig

Day 2: Sweet Potato Curry

2 TBSP pureed sweet potato

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

Optional: 1 TBSP coconut milk (full-fat preferred) or other alternative milk

Topping: freshly ground black pepper to taste

Swizzle stick: cinnamon stick

Day 3: The Not-Tonight-Honey

3 minced garlic cloves

3 tsp minced shallots

1/4 tsp raw honey

Optional: 1 TBSP coconut oil or other oil of your choice

Topping: 1 tsp raw sunflower seeds

Swizzle stick: a fresh or dried hot pepper

 Day 4: The Reborn Hippie

3-4 tsp fresh sprouted seeds of your choice (chop up into smaller pieces if the sprouts are long)

3-4 tsp minced wheatgrass (some do not tolerate wheatgrass so an option might include parsley or cilantro or another green of choice.)

1 tsp dried kelp powder and/or 1 tsp cooked quinoa

1/2 tsp minced fresh or dried garlic

Optional: 1 TBSP coconut oil or other oil of your choice

Topping: 1 tsp flax seeds

Swizzle stick: cucumber stick

Day 5: Out of Africa

3 TBSP minced or pureed carrot

1 tsp harissa paste or powder

1 tsp turmeric

Optional: 1 TBSP ghee, coconut oil, or other oil of your choice

Topping: 1 tsp chopped parsley

Swizzle stick: carrot stick

 Day 6: Bloody Mary Redux

2 TBSP tomato paste or sauce

1/8 tsp horseradish

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

1 tsp Worchestershire sauce 

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/4 tsp mustard powder

Optional: 1 TBSP coconut oil or other oil of your choice

Topping: minced celery

Swizzle stick: slice of crispy, cooled bacon

Optional: You don’t need me to tell you what kind of alcohol is in a Bloody Mary, do you?

Day 7: Savory Pumpkin Snapper

2 TBSP pureed pumpkin (Squash would make a similar option)

2 TBSP full-fat coconut milk or other milk of your choice

1 tsp garam masala (Garam masala is a group of herbs and spices used in Indian recipes. If you don’t have it on hand, you can substitute a variation such as 3 Tbsp coriander seeds, 2 Tbsp cumin seeds, 2 Tbsp cardamom seeds, 2 Tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp whole cloves, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, and 1 whole cinnamon stick)

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp black pepper

Topping: raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Swizzle stick: two parsley stems twisted together

Day 8: Thanksgiving Do-Over

1 TBSP minced carrot

1 TBSP minced celery

1 TBSP minced onion

1 TBSP sweet potato puree

1 TBSP coconut milk or an option like almond, cashew milk, or rice milk

1 tsp dried or fresh sage, rosemary, or thyme

Topping: 1 tsp dried cranberries on top (or optional fruit)

Swizzle stick: celery stick with celery leaves

Day 9: Chinese New Year

1/4 cup minced broccoli

1/4 cup minced carrot

2 TBSP minced onion

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos

Topping: 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Swizzle stick: Long sliver of broccoli floret

Day 10: Summer in Italy

1/4 cup dehydrated or sun-dried tomatoes, minced

1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp balsamic vinaigrette

Topping: 1 tsp shredded basil or optional herb

Swizzle stick: core of a fresh tomato with toothpick inserted

 Day 11: French Onion Affair 

1/4 cup minced dried onions

2 tsp minced parsley

1/2 tsp gluten free Worchestershire sauce

Optional: 1 tsp coconut oil or other oil of your choice

Topping: minced green onion

Swizzle stick: root end of a green onion

Optional: a few drops of sherry, cognac, or white wine

 Day 12: Steak and Kale

1/4 cup minced cooked steak or jerky bits (or a vegan option)

1/4 cup minced kale or crushed-up kale chips (or another vegetable option for those who don’t tolerate kale)

1 tsp minced red onion

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp gluten free Worchestershire sauce

Topping: 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Swizzle stick: Trimmed kale stem – these are delicious roasted

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