As the weather begins to cool ever so slightly and the kids go back to school, I’m reminded that cold season is right around the corner. My number one preventative and cure is good old fashioned chicken soup. My family drinks a mug of warm, nourishing chicken broth just about every morning to start the day but that’s just one of the many ways we enjoy this delicious stuff; you can make it and freeze it for use weeks or even months later, use it as the base for delicious soups, put a little in a pan to reheat everything from brisket to pasta, cook rice in it- the list just goes on and on!
The feet in this recipe are optional but if you have access to them, use them. They will release tons of gelatin making your stock beautifully silky and flavorful. Gelatin is also very healing to the gut so there’s nothing better for a touchy stomach. Adding feet can be the difference between a great broth and an exceptional one.
1 large stock pot or slow cooker
1-2 chicken carcasses
2-4 chicken feet (optional but strongly recommended)
2 TBS apple cider vinegar- I like to use raw
1 tsp sea salt
1. Roast bones in oven at 375 for about 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.If you’re using the bones of a roasted chicken there’s no need to roast the bones again, just toss them in the pot.
2. Put bones in a slow cooker or pot, cover with cool water, add apple cider vinegar and let sit for one hour
3. Add sea salt, bring to a boil, skim off any foam from top, reduce to barely a simmer, cover and let cook for 12-24 hours adding more water if necessary.
4. Take off of heat, cool, strain and store in refrigerator or freezer
You can use this recipe with beef, lamb, fish turkey or any other kind of bones you may have.
For an especially flavorful and even more nutritious broth save carrot peelings and the end pieces of onions, garlic and celery. Add these to the stock about four hours before the stock is finished. I have a ziplock bag in my freezer that I store these things in until I’m ready to use them.
Add fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, rosemary or thyme for the last 15 minutes or so for extra flavor and health benefits.
Chicken bones cooked for 24 hours will be soft and are a wonderful treat for your cat or dog.
One of my favorite things to do with this broth is to make a stock based veggie soup. It’s wonderfully simple and fantastic for any day of the week. Both of my sometimes picky kids love it and it’s the perfect thing to freeze and reheat. It’s also ideal to drop off for a sick or homebound friend.
Use two cups of water for every cup of broth (the above recipe will make a much more concentrated broth than what can you buy in the store). Fill a pot about halfway up. Add:
1 chopped onion
3 sliced celery stalks and leaves
3-4 sliced carrots
1-2 handfuls lentils (rinsed)
⅓ cup brown rice (rinsed)
6 cloves of minced garlic
any bits of roasted chicken you picked from the bones and saved (optional)
Bring to a boil, skim, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1-2 hours depending on personal preference.
Add any other veggies that you have on hand. Things like corn, peas, green beans, potatoes, squash and zucchini are all wonderful. It’s hard to mess this one up!
Save the rind of Parmesan and add to soup for extra flavor. Discard it when the soup is finished.