Homemade Chicken Broth

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I remember reading my mom’s recipes when I was a little girl. There was a recipe from my Great Grandma Ruth entitled “Bone Soup” and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Why would ANYONE want to make soup out of bones? There’s no meat on them?! I used to think that my great grandma, who raised 7 children in the hills of southern Oregon was crazy. I mean… who makes soup out of bones? Well, growing up has a way of saying “I told you so” and the simple answer is: Me. I drink a quart or two a day, it is the stuff that gives me energy and has been so instrumental in my healing journey. I use it for all of my soup bases and will add it to casseroles, roasted veggies, mashed veggies. You name it and it’s probably being added to a meal. Incognito style.

Broth is ancient – think Stone Age ancient and go back to the time where organ meats were king. The first soups were made by placing hot rocks in the abdominal pouches of butchered animals in order to slowly cook up mixtures of meat, bone, fat, herbs, wild grains and vegetables. To this day, there is some record of nourishing broth, either oral or written, in almost every culture.

Until the modern invention of mass canning (think Campbell’s and Progresso), many homes had a cauldron or large pot in which they kept broth simmering on the back burner. Even Downton Abbey gave a nod in Season 5 to the importance broth had in by-gone eras with The Dowager Countess (I just love her character) quipping, “every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” While I have no dreams or aspirations of becoming a lady’s maid, I do think that every single person should know how to make a restorative broth. 

Up until the 1930s, broth was studied in both academic and medicinal pursuit much more than it is today. With the increase in pharmaceutical research, broth simply fell by the wayside. Studies were conducted on it’s effect on digestion, ostearthritis, wound healing (it’s collagen-rich), cancer, infectious disease (broth is the #1 food when someone gets a cold in our house), and those on palliative care. It seals and heals the gut, rids the body of parasites and pathogenic bacteria, improves skin, hair and nails, and is just comforting to drink when our lives are stressful. If you’re like me and love to read, the book Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Kaayla Daniel provides waaaay more information than I ever could.

I usually suggest that my clients drink a mug of broth with a generous pinch of sea salt every morning, before breakfast and definitely before their coffee. In our house, we keep it on hand at all times of the day and it is generally consumed with each meal.

You don’t need anything fancy – a large stock pot on the stove works just fine. Other options for cooking broth are a crock pot or an Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker. All three will do what you need them to do.

For a simple and cost-saving tip, I save all of my organic onion, carrot tips (the end that grows down), celery ends, leek parts, and garlic peels in a bag in the freezer. When I make my broth, I pull some out and use those. Below is the proper way to make the recipe. I limit my carrots and celery as I really like the richness that only onions provide.

Also, sourcing is IMPORTANT. I only buy my bones from sources I trust (i.e. DEFINITELY NOT major supermarket chains) and only buy organic and ideally pasture-raised. Look to your local organic food co-ops, natural markets, or local organic poultry farmers. Your local Weston A. Price chapter can also help you locate good sources. Here in Seattle, I get my bones from New Seasons Market, PCC Natural Markets, and Well Fed Farms up in Bow, WA.

Homemade Chicken Broth

Method

Put chicken and/or turkey parts and chicken feet in your cooking vessel of choice. Add three to four quarts of filtered water, making sure that chicken is submerged by about an inch to an inch and a half. Add 2 tbsp of the raw apple cider vinegar. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes.

Once 30 minutes have passed, add your veggies, and spices and depending on your cooking vessel…

  • Stove top stockpot: Bring the stock to a boil and reduce heat to low. Skim any foam that develops. Put the lid on part way, leaving a small crack, and simmer on low for 12 hours, making sure the surface does not break a boil again.
  • Crockpot: Set to LOW, cover with the lid and let it go for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Instant Pot: DO NOT FILL ABOVE THE MAX FILL LINE. Seal per the manufacturer’s instructions and set the valve to “Seal.” Set using Manual to 90 minutes, let this cycle through once. When it has cycled, repeat. Set using Manual to 90 minutes. Let it sit to depressurize over time.

Strain broth through a colander and and cheese cloth (or a fine mesh strainer) to remove any bits. Store in the fridge for a week or freeze for later use… or, if you’re our house, it’ll be gone by dinner.