Bone broth is having a bit of a moment (although one could reasonably ask if there has ever been a time when bone broth wasn’t a critical part of cooking), with a nod not only toward better flavor but possibly toward better nutritional content. When bones are simmered slowly over a long period of time, the flavor of a broth deepens. Many also believe that bone broth has additional health benefits, although there isn’t currently any research to support those claims.
Into this moment comes Abrothecary, the brainchild of Andrew Ikeda. Ikeda is chef-owner at Lake & Irving and a butcher at Lowry Hill Meats. He’s formed this broth and soup venture, which is scheduled to be at the Mill City Farmers Market every other week throughout the season (the link lists the dates).
A recent visit to the Mill City Market found a selection of four broths as well as pesto. We opted to try the free-range chicken broth ($8) and the ramen broth ($10), sold in containers that held a little over two cups. The chicken broth was rich and golden and smooth in flavor. It would be excellent as a base for a vegetable soup or as a cooking liquid for pasta or veggies, or even as a poaching liquid for more chicken. This is not a broth that was prepared using shortcuts or cheats.
The ramen broth, we were told, was all you’d need to make a bowl of homemade ramen. Just add noodles and whatever protein and vegetables you choose. This turned out to be correct. The broth came out of the container as a solid, gelatinous lump that quickly melted down into a golden-brown aromatic broth with light touches of garlic and ginger. Combined with a few other ingredients, such as fresh ramen, mushrooms, pork belly, and a poached egg, it was hearty and comforting, if not as exciting as the offerings at places like Ramen Kazama.
But one thing that gave us pause was the price. A recipe on the Mill City Market’s website for a risotto that is said to feed eight to 10 people calls for five cups of broth. Assuming two cups or just slightly more per container, you’d need to buy three containers of chicken broth — that’s $24. Even assuming that you could store one cup for another use, you’ve spent $20 for broth for your risotto, and you still need to purchase the other ingredients.
Are these broths high quality? Absolutely. Are they worth the price? That depends. Some would argue that the time involved in creating a broth like this at home makes the Abrothecary product well worth the price. People who routinely do slow-simmered, long-cooking broths themselves may think harder about taking the plunge.