Making a good chicken bone broth (or chicken stock as it is also called) is one of the simplest and most nourishing things you can make. You can use it immediately to make some chicken soup, put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it to use later, freeze it in ice cube trays to have little bursts of “bullion” to use whenever you need it, or you can simply sip a nice hot mug of it instead of coffee or as a snack/meal replacement.
Health Benefits of Chicken Broth
I love making soup of any kind because it provides a nice complete meal that can feed my family at a moment’s notice for the week, but I especially like making any kind of soup with chicken bone broth because it is pretty much the most healing and most nutritious food there is.
Chicken bone broth is easy to both digest and metabolize (two things that are very different yet people think are the same…I’ll be exploring this in more depth at a later time). This makes it perfect the perfect food when you are trying to heal from any chronic illness or are sick with the flu or the common cold.
During digestion, the gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, which helps to support proper digestion. In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon also states that chicken soup,
“Has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many additives…and parasites.”
Chicken broth also contains valuable minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of trace minerals that are in a form your body can easily absorb. When your body is healing, you NEED these nutrients from nutrient dense food to heal.
Another cool thing about bone broth is that because of the anti-inflammatory acids such as arginine, it helps to inhibit infection caused by cold and flu viruses. In her article, Broth is Beautiful, Sally Fallon explains,
“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”
Ok, so are you ready to make some broth? For such a simple meal, there sure are a lot of different recipes for bone broth. With four young children underfoot, I like to cook food that’s as nutritious as possible as simply as possible. This is why I don’t add anything (except apple cider vinegar, which helps to draw out the minerals) to my bone broth. You can surely get creative and add whatever you’d like, but if you’re looking for simple, you’ve come to the right place!
- 1 4-5 pound whole roasted chicken (Preferably organic and pastured, the stock will not gel properly with a battery-raised chicken.)
- One large pot
- Cold filtered water
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (This pulls the minerals, especially calcium, out of the chicken bones.)
- *Optional: Carrot tops and pieces, celery stalks and leaves, onion skins and onion, parsley, and salt (I usually don’t add any of these ingredients except the salt, and I wait to add that at then end so that I can salt it to my taste preference. If you’re going to add parsley, wait until the very end.)
- Advanced: Chicken feet (Provides a more gelatinous broth.)
- Roast your chicken. You can read more about my roasted chicken here, but basically, I stuff mine with a stick of butter and season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano powder, basil powder, and bake at 350° F for 1.5 hours.
- Pick off the meat. I like to cut my breasts into cubes before cutting off the bone. Then I methodically pick off all usable pieces of meat, cut into bite size pieces, leave all pieces to soak in the remaining chicken juice, cover, and store in the refrigerator until the next day.
- Save all skin, bones, and other parts. I do typically discard the giblets (unless my cats want to eat them), but other than that, every last little scrap goes into my pot including the carcass, bones, skin, and any other little tidbits. I also like to leave just a titch of meat on the bones for extra flavor.
- Cover with water. After filling the pot with your chicken scraps, fill to just about the brim with cold filtered water.
- Add the apple cider vinegar. You have to be careful that you don’t add too much or you will really taste it. You might want to start with just a teaspoon and adjust to taste. Even though 2 tablespoons would be most effective, I usually only add about a teaspoon because that’s the flavor I like.
- Slow boil. Bring the water to a slow boil and skim any scum that comes to the top. (These are impurities.)
- Cover and simmer. Cover and reduce to a low rolling boil. (On my stove, this usually hovers around a 2 or 3.) Ideally, you’ll want it to simmer for a good 24-36 hours for the maximum benefit, but at the very least, just let it simmer overnight.
- Cool and strain. Turn off the burner, let it cool, then strain into a separate bowl through a colander. You’ll notice that the bones will be soft and break apart easily. *Do not feed them to any animals, it will tear up their insides.
- Enjoy! Time to put your broth to use.
- Chicken Soup: Add some chicken, celery, carrots, and soaked barely to make a simple chicken soup.
- Egg Drop Soup: Bring it to a boil, add some Bragg Liquid Aminos, Sriracha, and eggs to make an egg drop soup to die for.
- Store in the Freezer: Store your stock in Ziploc bags in the freezer. (Just be sure to lay them flat instead of plopping them on a rack where they will freeze while seeping through the cracks and then rip open when you try to take it out later….um, personal experience!)
- Freeze into Cubes: Freeze in ice cube trays to save for smaller size portions to use instead of those MSG laden “bullion cubes”.
- Sip It: Pour into a mug to sip on. Sometimes, I like adding some Bragg Liquid Aminos and Sriracha for a spicy oriental flavor!
If there is one food that you could add to your family’s meal plan that would make the most difference, I would say that bone broth is in the top ten for sure! If you’re not much of a cook, don’t worry! You can hardly get this recipe wrong! If you are, there are certainly a lot of variations you could try to make this a gourmet dish. As we enter another cold winter season full of viruses, I’m sure that I’ll be finding ways to incorporate this bone broth into our diets on a regular basis.
See more ideas for what to make with this broth in my soup section.