Sunday, February 5

Bone Broth - Chicken edition

"Good broth will resurrect the dead." -South American Proverb

Well, if that doesn't set your expectations high, I don't know what will. Wow, this stuff is good. I've been hearing about the benefits of bone broths for years, but this was my first time to make it. It is so easy; you could spend less than an hour of your time every week to set up your slow cooker, cook, strain, and store the stock - you have to call that easy.

Bone broth has a myriad of health benefits. Homemade stocks are something that used to be simmering on every home hearth and cook top, but as our country has lost touch with eating real, whole foods, we've lost touch with traditional cooking and with that, lost the health benefits that come with it. And to think, we have so many great tools and appliances now that our great grandmothers didn't have. No excuses! :)
For the details on bone broth benefits, read the article by Sally Fallon entitled "Broth is Beautiful"

I adapted Balanced Bites' recipe for Mineral-Rich Bone Broth. For bones, I used what was left of dinner from the other night - a rotisserie roasted chicken. Most of the meat had been taken off and I simply put the chicken into the slow cooker, poured water over it, literally broke a few washed carrots apart with my hands and tossed them in, sprinkled in about a half cup of frozen leeks (picked them up at Trader Joe's last week) and put the lid on. That's IT. Couldn't be simpler.

What you need:

roasted chicken carcass
approximately 4 quarts of water (Fill stoneware 2/3)
splash of apple cider vinegar
3 carrots, broken into pieces
1/2 cup frozen leeks

What you do:

Put everything in a 6 quart slow cooker, set to high. After two to three hours (depending on amount of water you used, it will be simmering/gently boiling. Switch heat to Low and let cook overnight. I started my stock about 6 pm - lowered the temp around 9 pm - and turned it off at noon, so eighteen hours total this time. Let it sit for an hour or a few, then put a fine mesh metal strainer into a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, move the large pieces into the strainer, then pick up the stoneware insert (hopefully your slow cooker insert is removable - here's an incidence where that comes in very handy) and gently pour through the strainer. You can then pick through and pull out the cooked carrots-they taste incredible- and get all the last bits of chicken meat off the bones. I collected over one cup of chicken.

For storage, I love the use of glass jars. They are low cost, toxin free, made in the USA, and you can get them "for free" by sanitizing old jars from spaghetti sauce, store bought applesauce and canned peaches, etc. Ask your friends and family to save their glass jars for you and you'll be set! I run mine through the dishwasher, lids on the top rack.
Ladle the soup into your jars or other storage containers, leaving room for expansion at the top. You now have a supply of homemade stock ready to freeze for a few months, or keep in the refrigerator for a few days. Enjoy!