As I was looking back through my archives and working to make some changes to the site a few weeks ago, I realized I had never posted on how to make chicken stock. I can’t believe that! It’s such a basic food, and a staple in any real food kitchen. I constantly have several ice cube trays and big bowls of it around. I have a pot on the stove right now! Yet, I’ve never posted on it. Seems weird.
Anyway, that’s the reason for today’s post! Homemade stock is amazing stuff. It’s full of gelatin and calcium and lots of different nutrients. It actually soothes and heals the digestive system (which is why it’s so key on GAPS). It’s not an old wives’ tale that good stock can heal illnesses!
Pay attention: it’s very difficult to buy this. In the last few years, bone broth has entered the market (this wasn’t true when I first wrote this post). But it tends to be $5 per quart or more! Some people can also buy it from their local farmers, but that tends to be even more expensive. If you use a lot of it, it can get very pricy, very quickly. Making it at home is definitely better! (Plus I think it tastes a lot better than even the boxed bone broths do.)
If you’re intimidated, don’t be. It truly is very easy to do. It requires only a few minutes to start, lots of “ignore” time, and a few minutes to strain, cool and put it away.
Recipe Collection: Chicken Bone Broth
- A whole chicken, roasted and picked clean; OR a stewing hen (raw); OR backs, necks, and other bony parts (~ 5 lbs.)
- 2 – 3 lbs. of chicken feet (optional)
- A 16-qt. stock pot
- An onion, chopped in 2 – 3 pieces
- A couple carrots, chopped in 2 – 3 pieces each (optional)
- Some celery, chopped in 2 – 3 pieces each (optional)
- 1 – 2 bay leaves
- 2 – 4 tbsp. astragalus root (optional; adds immune support)
- OR use onion peels and ends, carrot peels, celery ends, and other “scraps” (cheaper!)
- Water (cold)
A few notes:
- This works really well with turkey bones, too. In fact, I kind of prefer it, but they’re not available all the time. (You should have seen my freezer around Thanksgiving!!)
- Chicken feet add extra yummy gelatin but many people find them disgusting. I don’t get it, personally. (Maybe that’s because growing up I had a book about old-world cooking called “Watch out for chicken feet in your soup!” and a grandma was teaching a kid about how to cook up excellent traditional soup, so to me it seems normal and a good idea…)
- Most people use apple cider vinegar to draw the gelatin out of the bones. I tried it once and didn’t really care for it, nor did I think it made a difference. I don’t have trouble with mine gelling nicely without it.
- I often don’t bother with sea salt, pepper, or other herbs or spices. I make my stock plain, then flavor it up how I want when I’m cooking with it later. When I do add veggies and bay leaves it is so much yummier!
Now. To make it. This could not be easier.
Step 1: Add your bones to a large stock pot.
Step 2: Add some onion and celery and carrots or scraps, and herbs if you’re using them.
Step 3: Fill it with water to cover the bones by at least 1″.
Step 4: Turn it on low-medium heat. The broth should come to a light simmer and stay there for at least 12 hours.
You can also do this in your crockpot. This is generally how I make stock now, unless I am going to be home to babysit it.
Step 5: Your stock is done! Let it cool a bit, then strain it into containers.
I like to put it in mason jars to store. And don’t skim off all that lovely fat, you want that in there! (But don’t make the mistake I once did of drinking a whole glass of stock with tons of fat and sea salt, it will cause die-off and you will be miserable….)
It’s also a good idea to do some in ice cube trays, so that you can pop out just a few cubes at once to make a sauce or gravy, heat for a quick drink (not in the microwave, please!), thin baby food, or whatever. I usually do both.
And that’s it! If you had a lot of bones, you can go ahead and fill the pot up again and use the same bones for a second batch. I often do this, occasionally adding a few extra feet. Your second batch won’t be as rich and gelled as your first, but it will still make good soup. Some people even do a third batch.
The stock makes delicious soup! Like this one:
- 1 whole chicken, roasted and picked clean; OR a stewing hen (raw); OR backs, necks, and other bony parts
- 2-3 lbs chicken feet (optional)
- 1 onion, chopped in 2 - 3 pieces
- 2 carrots, chopped in 2 - 3 pieces each
- 2 ribs celery, chopped in 2 - 3 pieces each
- 1-2 bay leaves
- Add all ingredients to a 16-qt. stock pot and fill with enough water to cover the bones.
- Bring to a simmer and cook on low-medium for 12-24 hours.
- Strain into containers.
Have you ever made chicken stock?
I just love making chicken stock! It is so easy and makes the whole house smell good. I freeze it in quart jars for easy use.
We make stock about once a week. We usually roast a chicken for dinner and use the bones and veggie scraps for stock. At the end of dinner we pick the chicken clean and save the meat for sandwiches or salad. Everything else goes into the stock pot. We cover it and cook it over night. We usually get about 5 quarts of good stock. This gets frozen in either 1 quart or 1 pint containers. We never seem to get ahead. Over the holidays when we were cooking chickens and turkeys we made stock in our 24 quart pot. We cooked it for 2 days and pressure canned the stock afterword. We usually use what we have frozen, but it is nice to have extra when we need it. We've never used the feet. Have to try that next time. We also do beef stock when we have a large roast with the bone in, or right after we have a beef processed and have a large quantity of bones.
I make it with just the feet. Was a little leery at first but the taste of it will fix that problem real fast! Last week I made it with necks because my farmer didn't have feet, and it was good too – but I think I like feet better.
I'm enjoying your blog SO much and am just beginning my journey into real food! Hooray! So I have a few questions about the chicken stock (some of which stemmed from the comments already posted as well):
– How long does the stock stay good and fresh if you don't freeze it or pressure can it (i.e. in the fridge)?
– Also, are any of you freezing in glass jars? Does that ever cause problems like broken glass all over the freezer? If you aren't freezing large quantities in glass jars, what do you use?
– Do you skim off any of the fat off later when you are cooking or making soup?
Thanks for sharing your life with us! Blessings!
ok, Kate being i am also in columbus, where do you get chicken feet from? just curious, thank you!
If I had the money I'd buy big Pyrex glass containers and use those. I've frozen them before with stock and other stuff in them with no problems. The mason jars are not as sturdy and I worry about them. I have broken a couple in the freeze. I never skim any of the fat off, either, not even when making soup! I keep it all in. 🙂
The farm has them. 🙂
I've been making stock with the bones from roast chicken for a long time, and love it. And freezing it in smaller quantities (I use a muffin pan for that) is a great idea, too.
A tip I read once was to use the slow cooker for it. Basically, you roast your chicken for dinner, and then afterwards, pick it clean and put the bones etc. in the slow cooker, turn it on low over night and whenever you get around to it the next day, strain and freeze it. I usually keep some of the fat in but also skim some off to use for sauteeing veggies (yummy!).
Just one question, though. What's "die-off"? I've never had any problems drinking/using the stock, so I'm not quite sure what you're talking about there.
Where do you get your chicken feet?
Just wanted to let you know that the pics are not showing. Don’t know if its me though, but thought I’d let you know. I love this site too…I refer to it often! Thanks so much for you dedication!
Tammy, thanks, this is one post I haven’t updated yet — I’ll get to it soon!
I just made stock for the first time. I made it in the crockpot and it has turned out yummy!!!! woohoo.
I love using stock in almost everything. I add some to water when cooking rice or potatoes; it’s the base for gravies instead of water; add ice cube size to hot soup to cool it off without diluting the flavor.
I post my method up a while back at http://prairie-living.blogspot.ca/2012/02/homemade-broth.html
I kind of giggled reading you couldn’t believe you had missed sharing this. I’m the opposite. This is the only recipe I had on my site for a long time. haha
I’ve seen chicken feet in the stores quite often and cringed because they just look so bad. Ugg. But I figured people must use the for stock and soup base. Is there anything special you do to clean them?
I’m not sure my family would eat anything containing the stock if they saw feet floating in there. 🙂
After roasting the chicken for a meal, can you save and add the juices in the pan to the stock pot? I want to tell my Mom to pass on the bones to me the next time she roasts a chicken instead of her throwing them out…to have extra! If others pass their chicken bones on to me to use, can I put the bones in the freezer until I get the time to make some stock?
I do use apple cider vinegar – from what I know, it helps draw the minerals from the bones!
I love your tip about the chicken feet, I will ask the butcher about them!
Thanks so much for this! Just wondering if i don’t know of a farm to get the chickens from, should i just buy a free-range or organic one, like from a supermarket? Thanks 🙂
Do you have any tips for preparing the chicken feet? I have some in my freezer from processing chickens on my brother’s farm. And I had the understanding that the skin needs to be peeled off, etc. But when I’ve done that in the past, it is SUCH a long, tedious process, I figured I must be doing something wrong. On the other hand, I don’t really want to stick those dirty chicken feet in my stock, even after washing them.
What do you do with yours? Or do you purchase them already peeled/skinned?
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