Bone, Mugs, and Harmony
Last winter, bone broth—the long-simmered cousin of Grandma’s chicken soup—officially became a thing. Food-as-medicine partisans hailed its value as an immune system booster. Others dismissed it as rebranded stock. The debate boiled over locally when Salt Fire & Time’s Tressa Yellig—who had been selling broths in PDX for years before the trend hit—opened Broth Bar in August. The news prompted both cheers from longtime customers and furious screeds online. Luckily, Yellig’s tricked-out broths are delicious enough to win over the skeptics. (Yes, we were slightly skeptical.)
In a spare, soothing space next to Ristretto Roasters just off East Burnside, Yellig’s crew pours salt-free broths made from local bones, carrot, onion, and bay leaves—that’s it. Simmered for three days toleach nutrients from the bones, the broths deliver a quick, deep charge of comfort when sipped straight with a sprinkle of sea salt from the deluxe condiment bar—no cloudy bits or grittiness.
Soup it ain’t: think of these broths as savory tonics you can sip on the go or slurp as a light lunch when combined with “bundles” of kelp noodles, tender organ meats, and oddball ghee and cocoa-butter “fat bombs.” The chicken broth is rich and familiar, the lamb surprisingly sweet with a gamey tang, and each holds a wallop of easy-to-digest protein. “Just taking time to sit and drink a warm beverage is a smack in the face to stress,” says Yellig. See below for her cures for the season’s common complaints.
I HATE WINTER—HELP ME BUST THE BLAHS.
Order chicken broth with rosemary salt, grated ginger, scallions, and chicken hearts. “Invigorating rosemary will wake up your senses, while chicken hearts are a really powerful source of amino acids that help create the neurotransmitters responsible for mood balance,” says Yellig. “We confit our hearts with ghee and toss them in thyme—I pop them like grapes.”
I’M SNUFFLY, SNEEZY, AND FLU-RIDDEN.
Order turkey or lamb broth with chickpea miso, grated ginger and turmeric, scallions, and a soft-boiled duck egg. “This broth can be good for clearing out congestion,” Yellig says. “The ginger and the turmeric are warming and anti-inflammatory, the miso is a source of B vitamins, and the protein and fat ratio in the duck egg is sublime.”
I SKIPPED BREAKFAST. GIVE ME A MEAL IN A MUG!
Order beef or bison broth with grated turmeric, alder-smoked salt, chile oil, scallions, and sliced beef tongue. “Beef and bison broths taste totally different; beef is bold, bison is mild and round, but either works. This is what I make for people who are convinced that eight ounces of broth won’t fill them up—they underestimate how dense it is,” says Yellig. “Our beef tongue, braised with orange and star anise, is delicious, and Hot Mama chile oil is magical.”
TIP: Any broth goes nicely with a hot mug of Brit’s Mix, a super-creamy, bittersweet blend of dandelion coffee, cardamom-coconut-milk caramel, and cocoa-butter bomb that makes most mochas taste like tap water in comparison.