A staple in any traditional household and essential ingredient in classic cuisine, everyone from your grandmother to the world's top chefs know the importance of a good bone broth. The deep, golden color of a 12+ hour simmered broth will put lackluster store-bought broth to shame. A must when feeling under the weather, bone broth is rich in electrolytes to combat dehydration, it's incredibly healing to the digestive system, and contains a ton of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, etc. The benefits don't stop there – collagen is plentiful in bone broth, especially when using chicken feet and wings, which are jam packed with gelatin and collagen. If using broth in a sauce, the more collagen rich it is, the silkier the sauce will be.
The collagen in broth is more easily absorbed than collagen supplements, and way more affordable. Broth is also packed with glycine, an amino acid that promotes glutathione, a detoxifying enzyme in the liver. Glycine is primarily found in skin and connective tissue – so enjoy your chicken with the skin on, and don't forget to save the bones and scraps for broth!
The best way to get into the habit of making broth is to set up a gallon sized freezer bag or container, and anytime you cook chicken, toss the bones in the bag. Same goes with vegetable scraps – carrot tops, kale stems, celery ends, onion tops/bottoms, even knobs of ginger and turmeric if you don't mind the flavor coming through in your broth. Once the broth bag is full, bust out the crockpot (or simmer on the stovetop), and reap the benefits! Typically, I use half the broth fresh in a recipe like soup, and freeze the other half, portioned out into quart containers or glass jars.
Makes about 8 cups of broth
- 2-3 Lbs. pasture raised chicken bones (we like a combination of whole chicken bones, and wing tips if you have them
- 2-3 chicken feet for optimal collagen (optional, but will greatly contribute to a jiggly-when-cold, collagen-rich broth)
- 1 large onion, papery skin left on, quartered
- 2-3 large carrots, cut in half or thirds
- 2-3 sticks celery, cut in half or thirds
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, unfiltered/with the mother (vinegar helps to pull nutrients from the bones)
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic, optional
- filtered water, to cover (about 3-4 quarts)
Add all ingredients to a large crockpot, cover with lid, and cook on LOW for 12-18 hours. During the first couple of hours, skim the surface of the broth for 'scum' that rises to the top. The broth is done when the bones are soft and can easily be broken in half with a wooden spoon or by hand.
Place a metal strainer over a large stock pot and carefully pour contents of crockpot through the strainer. Optional, but recommended, do a second strain through cheesecloth into a large glass bowl.
Since there's no salt added during the cooking process, be sure to season broth generously with kosher salt when cooking with or sipping. The reason we don't add salt during the broth making process, is oftentimes broth is reduced and concentrated (for example, making a pan sauce or gravy), and if salted prior to use, the salt concentrates as well, sometimes producing a too-salty result. Ultimately, we get full control over the salt levels and flavors in the dish when starting with a homemade broth.
Enjoy broth within 2-3 days, or portion it out into glass jars or deli quart containers for freezing. Make sure to leave room for expansion, especially if using glass. Broth is also excellent in large soup cubes or ice cube trays. This allows for easy additions to sautéed vegetables or sauces.
Our favorite uses for nourishing chicken bone broth –
- Feeling under the weather? Heat some broth in small pot with a few pieces of fresh ginger, turmeric root, salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Sip from a mug.