Homemade Chicken Broth

 

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. 

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They say good things happen to those who wait. If that’s the case than my latest concoction won’t be ready for another 24 hours.

What is it I’m making?

Broth. Amazing, down-home, the-best-broth-of-your-life, broth.

My mother recently took a broth making class here in the Portland area and, upon returning home, apologized for not having made us good broth growing up. So what makes blasé broth amazing? Time. And ingredients. But mostly time.

Instead of going out and buying new veggies, save the scraps of organic carrots (except the stem ends), celery, fennel, onion peels (the paper and ends), and whatever else you may want to add. Also, save everything from the chicken – and I mean everything. If your butcher has cleaned chicken feet, throw a few in as well. If they have chicken skins, throw a bit of those in, too.

Have fun with the spices – I enjoy fresh thyme, rosemary, juniper berries (only 4 or 5 in a pot), pepper corns, and bay leaves. Add a bit of raw apple cider vinegar (about 2 tbsp). Brag’s is a great option. Throw everything in a stock pot, top off with filtered water and simmer on low for about 15 hours, or until the bones can be broken between your fingers. (Beef bones may be a bit longer.)

Strain the broth using a fine mesh colander and a cheese cloth. Toss the veggies in the trash – don’t compost them due to the meat product in them. Also, don’t toss the fat layer on top – it has gut-healing properties, wonderful for people with a leaky-gut. The broth won’t be a light color at all but a deep amber so don’t be worried. Season with sea salt toward the end of cooking or the saltiness will be overwhelming.

And enjoy! I drink it out of a mug, add it to my (fresh) veggies when I roast them, and make paleo soup. The stock will be highly concentrated so a little bit will go a long way.