Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chicken Bone Broth/Stock

I've been making homemade broth/stock from bones for many years now. But I was also canning it at times and I was still buying a good deal of it, too... or making some from Better than Boullion. I decided a few months back that I will not can stock anymore (I will only freeze it now), nor will I buy broth/stock anymore. I'm trying to work broth/stock into our diets more regularly... especially during the cold/flu season that we are headed into.

I've been making stock once a week now for the last three or four weeks so we've been getting it in our diets about two or three times a week. I'd like to eventually have it in our daily diets. That means I need to change the way I make stock... so I can make a larger quantity at one time. Currently, I just make it in my 6-quart crockpot and I usually end up with 3 or 4 quarts of stock once its done. Thanks to a tip I received at last month's WAPF chapter meeting, I think I'm going to start making it in my big roaster so I can make a larger quantity at one time. That way I can still feel comfortable leaving it on while we're away at work (I just would not feel comfortable leaving it on the stovetop when we're away from the house... even if it were only for an hour). I haven't tried it yet, but I look forward to trying it for the first time later this week when I make turkey stock. I'll update on the outcome.

So why the decision on wanting to incorporate bone broth/stock into our daily diets? Because its just so incredibly good for you! A good broth/stock contains minerals that your body can absorb easily - calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and other trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons - stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which are now sold as supplements for arthritis and joint pain... and they cost quite a bit, too. Fish broth/stock is a great source of iodine and other thyroid-supporting minerals. I haven't tried making fish broth yet, but I'm hoping to get fish heads and bones from my uncle after his fishing trips from now on so I can give it a try.

Most importantly, a good broth/stock contains lots of gelatin from the bones. Gelatin is extremely nutritious. It builds strong bones and cartilage and also benefits your skin, digestion, immunity, heart, and muscles. It has been known to have a positive effect on many human ailments - such as ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice, and cancer to name a few. It is a wonderful digestive tonic and an excellent treatment for reducing inflammation.

Feet, hooves, heads, and necks from animals contain the largest amounts of gelatin. If you don't already have a source for these pieces, you should definitely find one. I have found many sources for chicken feet and necks. Not so much for hooves, but I also haven't looked into it much yet... I've also heard that selling calves hooves is illegal in Michigan... but again I can't vouch for this yet since I haven't looked into it yet. According to Sally Fallon, you should use 2-4 chicken feet for chicken stock and about 2 pounds calves feet pieces to get the best results in a large pot of stock.

So how do you make a good bone stock/broth? Below, I've included a recipe from Sally Fallon, which can be found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. This is how I make my chicken stock. I have been using the carcass of a whole bird, plus 2-3 necks and 3-4 feet. Once I start using my big roaster to make my stock, I'll increase the quantities to adjust for a larger amount of stock.

Chicken Bone Broth/Stock

1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
(I also like to add the green parts of leeks... I always wondered what I could do with those green parts aside from throwing them on the compost. Now I just collect them all in a large bag in the freezer to throw into my stocks. It adds a delicious flavor! I also add the leaves from the celery stalks, too!)

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot (or crockpot or roaster) with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. This allows the vinegar to work the bones, making them ready to extract all the gelatin and minerals. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours (if you are using a crockpot on low, you should let it go 18-24 hours). The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. (If I use a whole chicken, I take the meat off the bones after a couple of hours, otherwise the chicken gets a weird texture and we don't care for it. Then I put the bones back in to cook... but most of the time I'm starting my stock with only the carcass/bones/pieces, not a whole bird.) Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

For more information, Sally Fallon has a great article that I'd highly recommend reading - Broth is Beautiful. As well as Kaayla Daniel's article - Why Broth is Beautiful.

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS. 

1 comment:

Mary Voogt said...

I always feel better about our health when we have homemade broth too (we'll be having it at least 4 times this week!). I know it's so good for your gut. If/when I ever do GAPS I'll have to really stock up!

I haven't used any boughten stock/bouillion in a LONG time. Now if I don't have homemade I just use water and add seasoning. It doesn't add nutrition but it also doesn't add junk :P

Turkey stock sounds good.

Maybe I'll have to get some chicken feet sometime.