If you didn’t catch my previous post on how to debone a whole chicken, you can check it out here. If so, and you have your chicken carcass all rearing to go then great job! See, it wasn’t so hard, was it? I’d be lying if I said that getting to make fresh, homemade chicken broth wasn’t one of my most favorite aspects of buying my chickens whole. I love it for many reasons.
First of all, buying good quality chicken broth alone can get pretty pricey. And still, often times even good brands still sneak in some junk here and there (just to make it shelf stable and such). When you make your own broth you know EXACTLY what goes into it. I love that. You can also customize the taste if you’d like. I usually keep mine incredibly simple so that it is more versatile. But, you could definitely amp up the flavor of your favorite herbs, make it spicy, or if you know you are going to be using all of it to make a giant batch of soup then you can flavor it accordingly. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. I always keep mine simple though because I use it in different ways. Of course I use it to make soups, but I also cook rice in it, use it for deglazing while cooking, and most of it actually gets used by just being drank straight by my family and me. Bone broth heated up in a mug is something special especially if you are feeling under the weather. A blogger over at Vibrant Life Army Wife even has a whole e-book dedicated to “buttering your bone broth.” (Buttered broth drinks are seriously yummy by the way.)
Bone broth is also rich in nutrients and trace minerals. The nutrients and minerals in bone broth are extremely beneficial for your bones. Seriously, the animal bones strengthen your bones. Pretty cool, huh? That is one of the reasons you want to make sure you are using bones from an animal that was raised on a healthy diet and in a healthy environment. Bone broth also contains collagen which is great for your skin, hair and nails. Yes, bone broth can make you even prettier ;). Bone broth can be made out of any animal bones, too, not just chicken.
So, with all this in mind I’m sure you are ready to get started on you own batch of magical, incredible bone broth. All you really, really need is:
- Either a crock pot, or a large pot
- The bones
- A little bit of vinegar
- A mesh strainer
I’ll be sharing directions for how to make it in a crock pot, considering that is what I always use. This is all I use if I make it in a pinch and don’t have the mirepoix, herbs and spices that are usually added. Adding the mirepoix, herbs and spices will certainly give your bone broth extra flavor and will also boost the nutrient content even more. Carrots, celery, garlic and onions are the go-to’s as well as black pepper and herbs of your liking. When I do add the extras I will usually use the bottoms and stalks of the veggies (the things you would throw away if you were to eat/cook them) and you can also leave on the onion and garlic skins as well.
Once you have assembled everything you want to include in your bone broth here is what you’ll do:
- Give the veggies a rough chop (if using).
- Put your chicken carcass and any other bones/organs/skin you are using into the crock pot.
- Add in the veggies and then a good serving of salt and a splash of vinegar.
- Next add in any additional herbs and spices you are using.
- Cover with water.
- Set crockpot to cook on lowest setting. my crock pot’s lowest setting is 10 hours so that is what I use. I recommend cooking your broth for at least 8 hours. I usually put mine on before I go to sleep at night and in the morning my house smells like fragrant chicken soup. It’s lovely.
- Once the liquid has darkened from clear to brown and the bones are extremely brittle it will be done.
- Put a large, empty pot in the sink and place the mesh strainer over it.
- Pour contents through the strainer so that you are just left with the liquid.
I only use my bones once, however I have heard of folks using them for additional batches. If you try this, let me know how it goes (I’m curious). The broth can be stored in plastic bags or plastic or glass containers. I usually keep some out in the fridge to have handy on the daily and then reserve some in the freezer so that it will keep longer for later use.
And that’s it! Now you have your very own, homemade batch of bone broth. Enjoy a mug for me!