As I take on more and more “kitchen work” to feed my family whole, unprocessed food, I frequently ask myself if this new routine or task would be something I’d give up if I went back to work full-time. If I went back to work full-time, I would probably give up regularly baking bread, making homemade mozzarella, and would definitely scale back on my canning and food preserving. But, it would take a lot for me to stop making bone broth.
I don’t remember hearing the term “bone broth” until about 2 years ago, shortly before I moved with my husband, and toddler to PA. Somehow, I started reading a couple a blogs that were full of talk about the GAPS diet, bone broth, raw milk, fermented foods, the book Nourishing Traditions, and the Weston A. Price Foundation. I found some of the ideas about gut health and natural foods intriguing so I read more.
Eventually, one of the new ideas I tried was making chicken bone broth by slowly cooking a chicken carcass over many hours or days to extract all of the flavor and nutrients out of the bones, marrow and cartilage. After some trial and error, I have developed a routine and recipe to make this process fairly easy and painless, even with two little ones around. It is so easy and tastes so good and is so nourishing to my family that I can’t imagine not having bone broth available much of the time.
Here is my simple routine which you could easily adapt to your own needs or preferences:
- Cook a whole chicken in my crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. You could roast the chicken in the oven or cook it any other way. I got a crock pot for Christmas last year and I like that I can just put it in and deal with it when I have time. You could also use other chicken bones for this, but a whole chicken carcass, from a chicken that lived outdoors, ran around, and ate bugs, and non GMO feed is the ideal that I shoot for.
- Remove skin and discard, reserve meat for other meals, and return bones with remaining meat to crock pot.
- Add the following to crock pot with carcass:
About 2 ribs of organic celery ( I like to save cuttings and leaves in freezer for this purpose)
2 onions, halved
2 bay leaves
- Cook on low for about 24 hours.
- Strain broth through clean lint-free cloth or coffee filter and store in refrigerator or freezer until needed.
I always need a lot of broth so I usually take out about 1-2 quarts of new broth each day and add more water to the broth ingredients to keep the broth cooking on low all day and night for about a week. I store broth in plastic pitchers and in mason jars in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks.
How do I use my lovely bone broth? Let me count the delicious ways! Obviously, I use it in all soups and stews that call for broth or even water, as I use a lot of vegetarian cookbooks and recipes. It completely elevates chicken soup into something out of this world, but it also shines in cabbage soup, lentil soup, or anything else. I also use it to cook foods where all the liquid is absorbed–namely brown rice, lentils, and quinoa.
Consider adding bone broth to your kitchen routine. It is significantly less expensive than buying broth or stock at the grocery store and you control the quality of all ingredients. It tastes great and is likely very good for you. I like it in a crock pot, but you can also make it the old-fashioned way, in a pot on the stove, so it requires no fancy ingredients or large time commitment. I can’t imagine my kitchen without it!