Chicken stock, or bone broth, is an absolute staple in our family.
I make a big pot of it on the weekend, and by Friday it has pretty much disappeared. We use the stock/broth in lots of ways. Being winter, my girls will often take some in a thermos for their school lunch with some diced chicken, rice noodles and a couple of sliced vegetables. I use it as a base for all of my sauces, gravies and soups, and sometimes we’ll even just drink it as a hot beverage. The family’s number one favourite though is my Asian Noodle Soup (get the recipe here). They love it because it’s delicious, I love it because it’s so quick and easy to throw together, and is a great way to use up leftovers.
Chicken stock is full of flavour, low in salt and great for healing leaky gut or any bothersome tummy troubles. Unlike the powdered or ready-made stock/broth you buy from the supermarket, there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, its free from MSG and it’s full of goodness. Because it has been cooked slowly on a low heat, the collagen has been broken down which is great for healing the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, and is also good for your own cartilage and joints.
It only takes about 5 minutes to get everything in the pot, and then you just let it bubble away.I keep the heat as low as possible – so a bare blip, blip, blip rather than a vigorous bubble. This is what keeps it clear and prevents cloudiness. I usually get it started on the stove-top and then in the afternoon once the fire is going, I sit it on top of the fireplace overnight, then strain it off the next morning. In summer, I just do it all on the stove.
I use it as a base for all of my sauces, gravies and soups, and often we’ll drink it on its own in place of a cup of tea.
If you are on a really tight budget, rather than using “new” vegetables, you can keep the scraps and trimmings from your veggies through the week in a sealed container in the fridge and just use them instead. Things like carrot tops and peels, onion skins, broccoli stems, fresh herb trimmings and stems, the little end bits off your garlic cloves, silverbeet stems, cauliflower stems etc. Once you have strained it, all the left-over veggie bits can go in your compost, or even be fed to the family pet (our dog and chooks love them).
It only takes about 5 minutes to get everything in the pot, and then you just let it bubble away.
My favourite chicken “bits” to use are the necks as the flavour is in the bones, and you want to include as many bits of cartilage as possible for the collagen content. If wings are on special, I’ll use them, and sometimes drumsticks are the cheapest, so I’ll use them (more about that in a minute). Sometimes, I’ll use a whole chicken and then keep the meat for the kids’ lunches through the week. Basically it doesn’t matter – just throw some bones in the pot with a few veggie scraps, cover it with water and away you go!
Sometimes, I’ll use a whole chicken and then keep the meat for the kids’ lunches through the week.
When I’m using meatier bones, as in actual drumsticks or a whole chicken, I initially simmer it only until the meat is cooked through (you’ll know when it’s cooked because it will easily pull away from the bones). I then remove the chicken from the pot (carefully – it’s HOT), and take all the meat off the bones. The meat is then put in a container in the fridge for lunches, or for a quick dinner later in the week and I then put the bones back in the pot for the long simmer. This way I get cold meat AND stock!
Homemade Chicken Stock (Bone Broth)
- 1 kg chicken bones necks, wings, frames etc
- 1 pig's trotter (foot), optional (make sure it isn't pickled or brined)
- 2 litres cold water or enough to cover bones
- 2 carrots, whole roughly chopped
- 1 stalk broccoli or other left over veggie bits & pieces
- 1 onion, whole quartered
- 1 bulb garlic, fresh halved horizontally
- 4 cm piece ginger, fresh rougly chopped
- 2 cm piece turmeric, fresh roughly chopped
- 2 onion, green
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 litres cold water or enough to fill pot
- Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.
- Add enough water to come to within 5 centimeters from the top of the pot.
- Bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat immediately to a very slow simmer.
- Simmer for 2-4 hours, skimming surface as required.
- Remove from heat.
- Refrigerate when cool.