Chicken Broth Smoothies Exist Now, and I Tried Them
For fans of bone broth and its numerous health benefits, the idea of sipping hot cups o' meat stock in the warmer months may seem unappealing. James Beard Award-winning chef Marco Canora, of the East Village's Hearth, built a mini bone broth empire in New York with his shop Brodo, and this summer, he's added a new broth concoction that manages to be quite refreshing: bone broth smoothies, otherwise known as "brothies."
Brodo's signature chicken bone broth is blended with fruits, vegetables, coconut oils, and nuts to make three colorful drinks that resemble your standard meatless smoothies, but actually contain hyper-nutritious bone juice. The three flavors are Deep Purple (red beets, blackberries, cherries, bananas, coconut oil, chia seeds, and chicken broth), Everything Orange (turmeric, carrot, mango, orange, ginger juice, banana, coconut oil, flax seed, and chicken broth), and Garden Green (spinach, kale, parsley, mango, green apple, banana, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, and chicken broth.)
Never having participated in the bone broth craze myself, precisely because I crave texture in the foods I consume (unless it's alcoholic, then liquids4ever), I was intrigued by the idea of a thickened, somewhat-sweet smoothie made of fruits and vegetables that would also deliver me the incredibly-healthy collagens and amino acids you get from boiling bones.
So how do they taste? I tried the Garden Green first, because it resembled a smoothie I would order and love. And, indeed, the frosty, bright-green beverage looked like a Juice Press smoothie, which made that first sip a bit of a shock: rich and savory and thick and sweet, the brothie hit all five flavors at once, like someone slammed their arm down on a piano but the sound was actually sort of pretty. As someone who privileges the savory over all else, I appreciated their muted sweetness, even though my brain had trouble processing it. With each sip, I geared up for hyper-sweet smoothie, so each sip felt like a strange, umami surprise.
To Canora, what traditional smoothies have always lacked is sufficient fat, so his "brothies" have a richness, derived from nuts and coconut oil, that almost coats the mouth, enlivened by the brightness of fresh ingredients. Each sip fluctuates between savory and sweet, refreshing and hearty, light and dense, which makes the experience somewhat confusing, but also very interesting. Undoubtedly, the drink is crazy healthy.
"When you put a bunch of colorful vegetables and colorful fruits together, you’re going to get a lot of vitamins and phytonutrients, but a lot of vitamins—A, D, K, C—they’re fat-soluble vitamins, so you need fat in order to absorb them," Canora says. "And so many smoothies don’t have fat. I wanted to formulate something that wasn’t so sweet crazy. Some smoothies are north of 35 grams—which is a lot of sugar. We turned down the sugar and added good quality fats with whole seeds and coconut oil, so now you have the vehicle to deliver all the value in the nutrients."
After the Garden Green, I tried the Everything Orange, which evoked some of my favorite curries and juices in a really lovely way. I could only manage a few sips, as the Garden Green contains, quite possibly, every nutrient ever (this may not be scientifically true, but it feels emotionally true), so it filled me right up. For maybe the first time ever, a smoothie had satisfied my hunger. I didn't have to go secretly eat a bag of potato chips in the bathroom. I was satiated.
The three "brothie" flavors will be at New York Brodo locations permanently, Canora says. He is currently working on developing a mushroom broth version with coffee. Breakfast, anyone?