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?