Homemade Bone Broth, Chicken
5 quick & easy steps to homemade bone broth, a nutritional powerhouse full of minerals & amino acids that heals digestion, inflammation, infections & more.
Kale. Quinoa. Multigrain. Bone Broth. Seems like you can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a grocery store upselling these food buzzwords (though some are healthier than others–I’m looking at you, multigrain). But perhaps the health food trend I’m most intrigued by is bone broth. Nearly every health book, article and blog I’ve read in the last year is touting the incredible health benefits of bone broth. But what the heck is it?!
Homemade Bone Broth
I’ve long been a fan of making my own chicken stock, as it’s a great way to use up leftover veggie scraps and chicken bones. Admittedly, I don’t do it nearly enough. Somehow it always sounds like it’s going to be a lot of work when I think about doing it (ughhhh, do I really have to get up from the couch and walk three feet to the kitchen?!).
But once I actually pull the trigger, I quickly realize making your own chicken broth can be done in less time than a commercial break (especially if you’re a Hulu subscriber like me… those ads are ridic, amiright?), as the crock pot really does all the work.
So when I was gifted a cookbook on nourishing homemade bone broth for Christmas, I reminded myself of this fact and took 5 minutes after roasting a chicken for dinner one night to make my first ever bone broth.
First, it starts with high quality chicken, ideally organic, pasture-raised and humanely-raised.
If you follow R+R, you know by now that I’m a huge ButcherBox fan. What’s not to love about getting healthy, sustainable cuts of meat delivered right to your door? I’m all about saving time, and with ButcherBox, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience. Want to try it yourself? Get $15 off plus FREE heritage-breed, uncured, sugar- and nitrate-free bacon in your first box!
If you’d prefer to skip the monthly subscription and shop a la carte, U.S. Wellness Meats is a great alternative to ButcherBox. This online purveyor sells grass-fed beef, lamb and bison, free-range poultry, wild-caught seafood, raw honey and more, all from small, family farms. Get 10% off your order with the code ROOT10.
So, if you’ve never heard of bone broth, or you’ve wondered what the difference is between bone broth and straight chicken broth or stock, keep reading. I’ve got a quick FAQ below. But first, the easiest non-recipe recipe for homemade bone broth:
- Step 1: Prepare your roast chicken. I stuff mine with aromatics, like onions and garlic, plus fresh lemon and a mix of herbs (sage and thyme are my favorites for chicken), but you can season your chicken with anything you like. Rub the skin with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and you’re good to go.
- Step 2: Roast your chicken. Eat and enjoy the meat however you please. Just be sure to reserve the bones and the carcass (there’s got to be a more appetizing word for this!).
- Step 3: Add the reserved chicken bones to a slow cooker with more onions, garlic, herbs, vinegar and water. There are no rules here, you can throw in any vegetables and scraps that you like.
- Step 4: Slow cook your bone broth for 24 hours.
- Step 5: Strain the bone broth through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the bones and solids. Enjoy delicious bone broth for the next week.
See…SO easy! I told ya. So, for those of you still wondering what even is bone broth, now onto the FAQ.
Q: What’s the difference between bone broth and regular broth or stock?
A: It depends who you ask, but there are a few general rules of thumb:
- Bone broth is made using the bones of animals (rather than the meat) and it’s cooked for many, many hours (usually 12-24+).
- Regular broth is made primarily with animal meat (and a small amount of bones) and is cooked fairly quickly (usually less than 2 hours).
- Regular stock is made primarily with animal bones, and is cooked a few hours longer than regular broth, but not as long as bone broth.
So essentially, it’s the use of animal bones and the lengthy cooking time that separates bone broth from the pack, and makes it the most nutrient-dense choice.
Q: Why is bone broth good for you?
A: Bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse–it’s incredibly rich in minerals (notably calcium and magnesium) and amino acids (protein). And thanks to the gelatin (collagen) and cartilage from the animal bones (hint: this is why it’s awesome to add animal feet, necks, marrow, knucklebones, etc.), anti-aging bone broth reduces inflammation, heals the gut, boosts immunity (read: like chicken soup on steroids that helps you fight colds and the flu) and is proven to aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, infections and even improves mental and emotional health. The addition of vinegar to bone broth helps pull these nutrients out of the bones.
Q: How do you use bone broth? Do you drink it?
A: You can use bone broth the same way you’d use stock-in-a-box or other store-bought broths: in soups and sauces, to braise veggies or baste meats and to cook rice. Or you can just pour yourself a mugful of good old-fashioned bone broth, drink it straight and let the healing begin.
Q: If I don’t want to make my own, can I buy bone broth?
A: Of course, but there’s a price you pay for convenience. Homemade bone broth is incredibly inexpensive, as you’re essentially just using the scraps from other meals you’re already eating. But if you don’t have time, I’ve found a handful of retailers selling store-bought bone broth, like Vital Choice, White Oak Pastures, Pete’s Paleo and Kettle & Fire on Thrive Market.
Just make sure they’re using pasture-raised/grass-fed animal bones and that the bone broth is as minimally processed as possible, without added sugars and artificial flavors or preservatives. I’m skeptical about some of the larger brands, like Pacific Foods. The ingredients are technically clean, but it’s listed as “Chicken Stock”, which makes me wonder if they’re just slapping the trendy buzzword on their label and marking up their regular chicken stock to profit off people who don’t know the difference. Worth asking them how long they simmer the stock for (they also don’t use vinegar).
- 1 whole organic pastured chicken
- 1 large yellow onion , quartered
- 1 head garlic
- 1 lemon , halved
- 1 bundle of fresh herbs of choice (I recommend sage and thyme)
- 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Bones and carcass from the above whole chicken
- 1 bundle fresh herbs (you can use the bundle from the roasted chicken above if desired)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 organic chicken feet (optional)
- 1 onion , halved
- Cloves from an entire head of garlic
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons organic raw apple cider vinegar
- Cold filtered water
Remove the neck, gizzards and other organs from inside the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stuff your chicken with the onion, garlic, lemon and herbs. Rub olive oil over the skin and season with salt and pepper.
Roast at 425F for 1 hour, or until an internal thermometer reads 165F. Carve the chicken and enjoy the meat however you like to eat it. Reserve the bones and carcass.
Place the chicken bones and carcass in a large slow cooker. You can include the onions, garlic and herbs that were stuffed in the roasted chicken, but leave out the lemon.
Add the bay leaves, chicken feet, additional onion, garlic, peppercorns and vinegar and fill with enough filtered water to cover the bones. Set your crockpot to low heat and cook for 24 hours, checking occasionally to ensure bones remain covered with water. Add more water as needed.
Remove the bones and solids with a slotted spoon and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass bowl. Enjoy!
Recipe inspired by Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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