Recipe: Basic, But Never Boring, Chicken Stock

by Ellen

Vegetables for Chicken Stock

There’s nothing like the aroma of chicken stock bubbling away on the stove.  Bone broth is rich and flavorful — so much better than anything from a box or a can.  It’s also inexpensive, nutritious and very easy to make!  Homemade stock lends wonderful flavor and nutrition to soups, sauces, stews, and vegetables.  Use it as the liquid base for cooking rice or add a dash of it to spaghetti sauce to give it that cooked-all-day taste.

Full of Nutrients

Folk wisdom tells us to eat chicken soup when we have colds or the flu; I know it always makes me feel better.  Its immune-boosting properties are legendary.  I think of homemade chicken stock as a nutritional freebie.  After that roast chicken dinner, the leftover parts (bones, cartilage, marrow, tendons, collagen, and pan juices) can be put to good use.  Chicken stock provides us with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.  It also contains gelatin, which is a good source of the amino acids, glycine and arginine.  Gelatin acts as a “protein sparer,” helping our bodies to use complete proteins from other sources.  Bone broth also contains chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which many people use to ease arthritis and joint pain.¹

Six Easy Steps:

1) Roast an organic, free-range chicken to use for meal #1. I simply rinse a chicken and throw it in a roasting pan greased with a little butter.  I cook the chicken at 350ºF until a meat thermometer registers at least 165°F at the thickest part.  Enjoy the chicken meal, just remember to save the bones.

2)  Pour all the pan drippings into a glass and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The fat will rise to the top and you can easily scrape it off to cook with, or throw away.  Pop out the resulting gelatin — this layer is full of protein!

Fat rises to the top, leaving a disk of gelatin as the bottom layer.

At this point you can freeze the carcass and gelatin disk until you’re ready to make stock.  I often wait until I have two chicken carcasses so my stock will have even more flavor.

3)  Place chicken carcass(es) in a large stock pot and cover with cold, filtered water.  Add the juice of one lemon and let pot sit on the counter for 1/2 hour. The acid in the lemon juice will draw minerals out of the chicken bones.  (You can also use cider vinegar; I love a tinge of lemon in chicken broth.)

4) Add the gelatin, 1 or 2 carrots, a couple of celery stalks and and a quartered onion to the pot and bring to it all to a boil. As foam rises to the top, scrape it off with a spoon and discard.

As stock comes to a boil, it's time to skim the foam.

5)  Immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer for as long as you can. I try to go at least 6 hours.  Some people leave it simmering overnight.  Just be sure to check the level of the liquid!

6)  When the broth is done simmering, pour it through a strainer to catch the bones and boiled vegetables. You can use the broth immediately or chill it in the refrigerator until a cold layer of fat collects on the top, which is easy to remove.

That’s it!   Broth keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for a few months.  The Joy of Cooking recommends reboiling any broth that’s been in the refrigerator for longer than 3-4 days before storing it again.  You can freeze broth in one big block or in ice cube trays, so that you can use a little at a time.

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Sources:

1) Broth is Beautiful, by Sally Fallon for the Weston A. Price Foundation, January, 2000. (accessed 7/2/10)

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