Stock/broth is probably the most basic thing you can make. In good restaurants there are simmering pots of it on the stove every day of the week. It is an ingredient in so many recipes, whether you’re reading Nourishing Traditions or any other savory food cookbook. Also, stock is very good for you, please go here to the Weston A Price Foundation site to read up on the health benefits of real bone broth.
My advice for you, especially because it’s winter here, is go primal and make some stock. This is one of those things that has been done since pots were invented. It just feels powerful to do something that humans have done for a millennia, and turn what people nowadays think of as ‘garbage’ into something really good!
The important thing to do is just try it, it’s much easier than you think. Don’t worry too much about whether you have the ‘right’ chicken bones (beef stock is slightly different), just do it! Remember, baby steps. I have even made stock on a business trip. Even the pitiful pot in my hotel room kitchen was good enough to make stock from one chicken. Of course, I have been forever known since then as the ‘one who made soup while out of town’, but whatever! I felt great that week eating ‘home’ cooked food.
NOTE: You may have noticed that I use the words stock and broth interchangeably. Usually in the food industry broth is made from just meat and stock is made from bones. Whenever I make stock/broth, I make them from both meat and bones. In my opinion this is the best of both worlds.
Tips for making chicken or turkey stock/broth:
- Save your chicken bones until you have about 2-3 (or more) chickens’ worth, then get your stock started on a morning where you don’t have to go outside the house. It can simmer all day with practically no intervention from you.
- Chop the bones and cartilage in small pieces to enhance the nutrients and gelatin in your broth.
- You can make stock in a large crock pot / slow cooker very easily too if you don’t want to use the stove, just leave it for longer than you would leave a pot on the stove.
- Freeze in different portion sizes in mason jars (I do pint and quart sizes, even half gallon if I have a lot).
- Don’t omit the vinegar! This step draws the minerals out of the bones.
- If you freeze in ziploc bags, make sure broth is cool first, then store flat in the freezer.
- A good stock will jell completely when it’s refrigerated. This is a great thing, so do not throw it out! (I have a friend that thought it was bad and threw it out!!)
- If your stock does not gel, do not despair, just boil it longer or just eat it anyway. It will still be good. Next time, chop up the bones or add some chicken feet (seriously!) or find another source for your poultry/meat.
- If you refrigerate your chicken stock and there’s a lot of fat on top, break it off and freeze it. It’s a great thing to use in gravy.
Even my husband who dislikes soups and stews eats this broth in things and likes it (especially gravy)
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- 1 whole pastured chicken or 2-3 pounds chicken bones with or without bits of meat, including feet if you have them
- variation: turkey or duck
- 4 quarts cold water
- 2 T vinegar (See Resources)
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (or your bag of collected frozen onion parts)
- 2 carrots coarsely chopped (I omit this sometimes)
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped (I omit this if I don’t have celery)
- Throw all of your chicken parts (chopped up if possible) in a pot, add the water, vinegar and vegetables. Let sit for a half hour, then bring to a boil and remove the scum/foam that rises to the top with a spoon. No need to remove the floating fat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more rich and flavorful it will be. You could also do this in a large crock pot / slow cooker.
- If you used a whole chicken, don’t leave the meat in there for more than about 2 hours. Remove the chicken, remove the meat and reserve, and put the bones back in the broth to cook.
- Remove the whole chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl, then ladle into mason jars. Let the jars sit until they are pretty cool, then freeze or refrigerate.
- If you want to defat: put the mason jars (or the large bowl) into the fridge until they’re completely cool then break off the fat. Freeze the fat for use in gravies.