How to Make Bone Broth, Reduce Cellulite, and Get Over Your Fear of Chicken Feet (Part 2-Recipe Included)
As promised, here’s part two and your bone broth recipe brought to you by the fabulous Ginny Jeffery of GeorgiaPeachy!!
How do you make it?
For a while I put off making bone broth because it sounded like such a hassle. Skimming, straining, sourcing- I mean where do you get a pastured chicken anyway? It all seemed like kind of a lot to think about. However, after making a few batches I was an expert! It really is a beautifully simple process requiring little hands-on time. If you can boil water, you can make stock. It’s also a great budget-stretcher.
For the Herbs and Veggies:
Now that I’m into the groove of making a big pot of chicken stock once or twice a month, I keep a “stock scrap” bag in my freezer. Every time I cook, I pull out the bag for all the cutting board scraps. When the freezer-sized bag is almost full, I make stock! The scrap bag usually contains:
-Unused stems and ends from herbs like tarragon, parsley, oregano, sage, rosemary, chives, and thyme. I used to feel so sad when my beautiful fresh herbs went bad before I could use them, but now when they start to dry out, they just go in the stock bag!
-Onion and garlic skins and ends. Yep, you can save the papery skins; they make great stock!
-Celery and carrot leaves and ends. Don’t throw away those carrot peelings!
-Though optional, mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, squash, zucchini, eggshells (calcium!), green onion and leek ends and potato peelings can also go into your stock. I’ve even heard of adding sea vegetables for iodine.
Try to use organic ingredients for your stock whenever possible- especially celery, which is a heavily sprayed crop.
For the Chicken:
Use chickens raised on pasture if possible. Fluoride accumulates in bones, so if you can buy from a farm that uses non-fluoridated well water, even better! For me sourcing the chicken was the hardest part of the whole process. I went to my local farmer’s markets and asked if the chickens had GMOS like soy or corn in their feed, if they had regular access to sunlight, and if they were able to “hunt and peck” for worms and bugs (chickens are not vegetarians) and engage in other chicken-like behavior. Once I found a good source for poultry, the rest was a breeze. You may use a whole bird or chicken parts. If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, as well as any other parts from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces, and use everything in your stock. Cutting the bones with a cleaver or sharp chef’s knife may result in a more gelatinous stock. After the first half hour of cooking you may remove any meat your family enjoys, and then return the bones to the pot. Personally, I don’t like the whole chicken method. It’s more expensive and messier. I like to keep it simple!
I prefer to use parts. You will need 2-3lbs chicken bones and parts, such as organs (giblets), necks, backs and wings. Butchers are happy to unload the bony parts, as most people don’t want them. You may even find a place you can get them for free! In my area (Los Angeles) I can get plenty of pastured-hen necks and backs for a batch of broth for about $4. When you roast or boil chicken (or turkey), make sure to save the leftover bones and skin for your next stock.
Did you know that chicken feet also make a rich stock that gels beautifully? If you want to try using feet, first clean them by boiling. Place feet in a pot of water, boil for five minutes, and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Remove feet to a cutting board, and when they’re cool enough to touch, chop the nails off at the joint that’s above the nail and discard nails and any other rough patches on the feet. This will allow all the good stuff from the feet to get into the broth! You may either augment your broth with a handful of chicken tootsies, or use about 2lbs. worth of feet in place of the other chicken parts. I realize this may sound gross, but it really does make a great stock, and feet are cheap or even free! At the risk of sounding like a weirdo, I have to say that chopping off the toenails is strangely satisfying. I thought it would be disgusting, but it’s actually fun! It gave me an, “I am woman, hear me roar!” kinda feeling. Put your big girl panties on, play the song Brave (Sarah Bareilles), and just do it. Eleanor Roosevelt said you should do one thing every day that scares you- this can be your thing for today. And if you actually enjoy it, don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
The only real rule when it comes to preparing stock is not to let it boil again after the initial boil. Otherwise you may get a cloudy stock (although it will still taste just fine). Other tips are to add cold water when additional liquid is needed (the cold water helps impurities rise to the top), and to skim off any scum that comes to the surface. Sometimes I get hardly any scum at all. The cleaner the ingredients, the less scum you will see. You may choose to wash your vegetable scraps first, but I never do. I use organic vegetables and the long cooking time and initial boil will sterilize the broth. Again, I like to keep it simple.
As far as cooking time, some recipes call for as little as an hour. Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends 6-8 hours (“The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.”) Many in the real food community cook their broth for 24 hours or more. I would suggest experimenting to see what works best for you. You want to simmer until the bones are depleted, though if they’re not you may reuse them once in a future broth. You also may try adding the veggies later if you want to simmer the bones for a very long time. I believe that the key to a perfect stock is the low simmer. It should be so low that the surface barely moves, only breaking for the occasional bubble. On my stove I use the lowest setting. Sally Fallon recommends adding parsley in the last 10 minutes of cooking to “impart mineral ions” to the broth; if you have fresh parsley on hand, do it!
Equipment, Straining, and Storing
I’ve heard great things about stock made in pressure cookers and crockpots, though I haven’t tried these methods myself. I like to use my All-Clad 8-quart stainless steel stockpot. I used to use the tall 12-quart size with the built-in basket, but it was too hard to clean in my tiny kitchen sink! The smaller one works just fine and the stock is more concentrated. I also use a sieve, a couple layers of damp cheesecloth, and glass canning jars to strain and store the finished stock. I recommend the wide-mouth jars, as trying to get a mostly frozen chunk of broth out of regular-mouth jar is a hassle. Some prefer plastic storage, but I would avoid putting hot liquid in plastic containers, as chemicals may leech into your broth. If you choose plastic (ice cube trays are a popular way to freeze convenient broth cubes), let the broth cool in the fridge first.
Here’s the straining and storing method that works best for me: After cooking is complete, remove the solids with a slotted spoon and place them in a sieve over an 8-cup measuring cup to catch the liquid as it drains off (the veggies can hold onto quite a bit of that precious liquid, and you don’t want it going to waste!). When the liquid has drained, dump your solids (or remove the bones and make pet food!) and line the sieve with cheesecloth, a paper towel, coffee filter, or kitchen towel. Strain your broth through the lined sieve and pour it into wide-mouth Mason jars, leaving an inch at the top so the jar won’t crack in the freezer. When the process is complete, try to store your stock quickly. The rich liquid is a potential breeding ground for bacteria, so it shouldn’t be allowed to stand at room temperature. Use or freeze it immediately, or refrigerate for a few days and no more than a week. You may bring refrigerated stock to a boil before use for extra safety. I haven’t always followed this advice and I’ve never had a problem, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention it.
There are a couple of additional steps you may take if having an ultra-clear broth is important to you. To clarify, bring your strained stock and an egg white to a boil. The egg white will grab particles from the soup as it cooks, and then you can strain out the egg. I skip this step because 1) it’s extra work 2) I don’t care about having an ultra-clear stock 3) there could be precious calcium in those disintegrated bone particles! However, it may be worth trying depending on how you want to use your stock. You may also chill your broth in the fridge until the fat solidifies on top. Then skim off the fat and freeze for later use. I like to include this step because schmaltz (chicken fat) is a great for sautéing vegetables or adding flavor to a stew. Since it won’t be a pure rendered fat (some broth will likely remain) it will only keep for about a week in the fridge. Therefore, I recommend freezing it in portion-sizes.
- 1 whole chicken, or 2-3lbs chicken bones and parts
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar (preferably GMO-free. I use ACV or Heinz distilled-white, not made from corn)
- 1 gallon or freezer sized bag of stock scraps, or the following:
- 1 onion (quartered)
- 2 carrots (rough chop)
- 3 stalks celery (rough chop)
- 1 garlic head (quartered) or some cloves (smashed)
- Fresh or dried herbs that compliment poultry, such as tarragon, sage, parsley, thyme, etc.
- Black peppercorns (about a dozen)
- Dried bay leaves (2-6)
- 1 Tbsp. turmeric (for golden color and anti-inflammatory properties)
- 1 bunch of parsley
There are no exact measurements or hard rules when it comes to stock ingredients. Most are optional. As long as you have some chicken parts and some vegetables, you’re fine. Use what you have and experiment!
- Place chicken parts in a large pot and cover with cold, pure water. Add the vinegar and let it sit for 30min-1hour. This helps pull minerals such as calcium from the bones.
- Add all other ingredients except for the parsley and bring to a boil.
- Skim off any scum that rises to the top.
- Turn stove down as low as you can while still getting the occasional tiny bubbles breaking the surface. Let your broth simmer for 4-8 hours, until bones are soft and depleted, continuing to add cold water and skim the surface as needed.
- Add parsley during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Strain stock and enjoy!
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Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.