When people talk about eating chicken noodle soup while they’re sick, dumping a can-shaped congealed mass of noodles and chicken flavored jelly from a red and white can is missing the point entirely.
Bone broth is extremely nutritious, and excellent for the immune system. Chicken broth is a common ingredient in many dishes, and you can make it for ‘free’ with the parts of the chicken you’d otherwise discard. It’s much healthier than any broth you’d buy in a box or can, and you can control the other flavorings (of lack of) in it.
Step One: Put all of the bones, scraps and skin of the chicken into a crock pot. You can leave it like that, or you can add vegetable scraps in as well. I like to keep a jar in the freezer that I throw odds and ends into–the ends of carrots, leafy stalks of celery–anything that is clean and doesn’t have a bad spot on it can go into the broth pot. You can put whole vegetables in as well–carrots, onions, garlic, celery–whatever you have on hand.
Step Two: Cover the chicken with water, and add several tablespoons of white vinegar–this will help pull the nutrients out. Then turn your crockpot on, and cook for several hours, or overnight.
Step Three: Ladle the broth into jars (I use my canning funnel), leaving at least an inch of headspace (don’t fill the jar all the way to the top). When in doubt, leave more headspace. Put lids on, and let cool on the counter. When the jars have cooled, put them in the fridge for a few hours, or up to a day, and then stick them in the freezer.
There will probably be a layer of fat that forms at the top of the jar–you can skim this off if you like, but I never do. (If you do, save that in a separate refrigerated jar to sauté vegetables in.) I leave it, and when you cook with the broth, it will incorporate back into the dish. It adds flavor and nutrients to your dish.
The chicken carcass that you still have in your crockpot? If you are wanting more broth, you can make another round. Just add another few tablespoons of vinegar, more water, and start the whole process again. You can crush the bones with a meat tenderizing mallet, to release the marrow and more nutrients.
The second round of broth will have a lighter flavor, and you might want to label it as such. You also may need to add a little bit more salt when cooking with homemade stock. Store-bought broth is usually higher in sodium, and recipes take that into account. Keep tasting as you’re cooking, and adjust accordingly.
The process is the same with turkey bones, so save those leftovers from your feast, and stretch the leftover just a little further!
- Chicken or turkey carcass/bones/scraps
- vegetable scraps
- 2 T of white vinegar
- Place poultry scraps/carcass in crock pot
- Add vegetable scraps (optional)
- Cover with water and 2 T of white vinegar
- Cook on low for 8 hours
- Pour broth into jars
- Let cool and refrigerate to use immediately or freeze