Last weekend I made bone broth for the first time. I had roasted a chicken earlier in the week, and after the chicken dinner had been eaten, and leftover sandwiches been made, I was left with the carcass, bones and grizzle. Secretly, …this is what I was after.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about lacto-fermented foods, paleo diets, and the benefits of bone broths. While I’m not one for “diets”, I can appreciate the merit behind this time honored tradition of eating simple foods which include marrow in the form of broth.
Unlike regular chicken broth, which is often made from boiling the chicken carcass raw with garlic, celery, onions or other seasoning, bone broth is made by boiling the carcass until the bones crumble and the healthy marrow is exposed. It becomes a rich golden brown and has a deeper, more concentrated flavor than regular chicken stock.
Not only is bone broth delicious, but it’s also really healthy. Bone marrow provides lots of nutrients and minerals that might be hard to find in other foods. This type of broth is very good for the digestive system, for the joints, and immune system. So with the arrival of fall, and cold and flu season just around the corner, it’s a great, soothing and healthy treat!
I made my bone broth by compiling a combination of different recipes, but it’s the method that is important…after that, you can add or subtract ingredients to make it your own.
I made mine in the crock pot because it has to simmer for so long. While bone broth is easy to make, it does take a long time. I simmered mine for 48 hours! Some people say that you don’t have to simmer for that long, but the point is for the bones to crumble and that’s what I was after.
You will need:
- A prepared whole chicken, with most of the meat removed
- a crock-pot (you can also simmer it on the stove top, low setting)
- whole garlic bulb
- 1-2 medium onions
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- fine mesh strainer
Set the heat setting on the crock pot to low.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pot.
Place the chicken carcass in the crock pot.
Rough chop the garlic and onions, (you don’t even have to remove the skins if you don’t want to) and add them along with the vinegar, salt and pepper.
Add water till the chicken and vegetables are covered about 3/4 of the way.
Now let it simmer for 48 hours. I noticed that I had to add more water about every 6-8 hours, and stir it a bit. I would just fill the water to the original height in the pot. (Somewhere along the process I felt like an old witch fussing over my pot of root vegetables and bones. Stirring and tasting my brew along the way.)
While it’s simmering, your house will smell wonderful, and everyone who comes over will ask, “what are you cooking?” And then they will look in the pot and never come to your house for dinner again. Ha! Or they’ll feel sorry for you and bring you a chicken with meat on it. Either way…bone broth is good.
Ok…fast forward 48 hours. Your broth should be a rich brown shade, almost like coffee. The vegetables should be soft and mushy and the bones should crumble easily. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain off the bones, and veggie bits, and you are left with a hearty chicken bone broth. You can drink it by the cup, or use it to make a delicious soup. I plan on filling a halved acorn squash with the broth, roasting them in the oven and topping with a bit of shaved Parmesan cheese.
There are many variations to bone broth recipes. You could add celery, carrots, herbs, kale or anything you like. I would just be weary of adding vegetables too early in the cooking process as some foods can get bitter if simmered too long. I originally added celery, but took it out after about three hours of cooking because I could smell it very strongly.