As I dish up my chicken broth, warm, nourishing liquid is ladled into the bowls from my stock pot, simmering with bits of carrot, parsley, celery, and tiny, shimmering fat globules. This nutrient dense, life- promoting broth has numerous benefits, both for health and for culinary use, as well.
This broth makes into the simplest of healing soups. When you are knocked out by a cold or coming back from flu, sipping several bowls can help open up your respiratory pathways, build your immune system, and simply make you feel so much better. A true comfort food, it even seems to brighten the dreariest of days.
When I feed this to my hungry family, half-way through the bowl, they invariably say, “Hmm, this is so wonderfully warming. It makes me feel SO good!” The secret, they know, is the broth. When you use a rich broth as a base, it makes everything better. Without exception, they are satisfied, warmed, and strengthened. Plus, they don’t feel like eating as much because they are getting full nutrient value.
First, you must start with the healthiest chicken you can find, and I admit, that can be difficult in this world so tied into quick and easy! When we were on the farm, we raised our own chicken; we knew the chickens got plenty bugs, seeds, our own feed, exercise and sunshine while on mineral-rich soil.
Properly raised pastured chicken is as good as gold. I purchase chicken from a nearby farmer that lets the birds run and get sunshine and bugs in the summer. I like to buy a larger number (10-15) in the fall, so I can freeze ‘summer chicken’.
To find a source close to you, go to EatWild and click your state or Canada.
Trader Joe’s, Costco and others carry chicken that is labeled organic (no trace antibiotics, GMO-feed, or hormones), but the farms that supply these mega-stores have to be crowded or confined to supply such numbers as they sell.
Getting Full Value From a Whole Chicken
Fifteen or more years ago a light bulb came on in my head. Remembering what my grandmother did, I realized how convenient and economical it was to make homemade soup stock, starting with the leftover carcass and leavings from a previous meal of roast turkey or chicken. Now my birds would have two lives! First, they are roasted to a perfect golden brown in the oven and served as a hearty main dish. Then, their bones are used to make the perfect broth.
How To Begin
The cooking time for stock is at least four hours, but hands-on time is fifteen minutes, tops.
Start by placing all the parts into a stockpot (with a lid) and just cover the bones with water. Add 1/5 c. cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s organic vinegar) to help the bones to break down, giving up their minerals, collagen, and gelatin into the water. After an hour or so of the acid soak, turn on the heat and lightly simmer it (no rolling boil) on low for 12 hours or overnight if you wish. Your home will smell absolutely marvelous! This is the way women have cooked for centuries.
If need be, take 30 seconds 2 or 3 times to skim off any foam that forms.
Drawing Up and Storing the Broth
After the simmering period and while the broth is still very hot, I carefully fill waiting clean canning jars using a stainless funnel and 1/2 or 1 cup measuring scoop. When the broth is at a low level in the stockpot, I remove the bigger bones and pour the remaining liquid and small bones through a large sieve. Discard all bones.
For every quart jar, I add a half teaspoon sea salt to lengthen the keeping time in the refrigerator. I cap the jars once they are cooled just a bit and refrigerate within a hour. Not allowing them to sit open to any contamination in the air is the secret of my broth keeping very well in the refrigerator between 2 and 3 weeks. It will also freeze beautifully with a little head room in the container for expansion.
Any properly prepared broth will be golden and wiggly after you refrigerate it.
How Much To Use
- soups or stews
- beans, rice, wild rice (they absorb the broth)
- quinoa, barley, bulgar wheat, etc.
Sometimes, the only thing I add is skillet-sauteed (caramelized) onion, potato, carrot, celery, parsley, garlic and bits
of cayenne pepper for some heat. I slowly sauté everything until soft in coconut oil or olive oil and then add it to the broth for amazing flavor.
Sometimes, if I’m really pressed for time I don’t saute at all. I simply put my additions into the stock to simmer and season with sea salt, pepper, and my favorite blend of herbs.
Broth has been a vital part of fighting colds and flu in our home for years. Chicken broth is one of those foods that make you feel like you’re a really good cook, and you will be serving your family one of the most strengthening foods known to man.
“She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” ~Proverbs 31: 14-15
Thanks for reading!