by Cat, Sept 2007 (Photo, right, from Daily Unadventurous blog (4))
Chicken stock is one of the most versatile things in my kitchen. It makes great soups such as chicken noodle or chicken dumpling, or sauces such as that for my Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts or Thighs, with Herb & Wine Sauce recipe. It is also delicious to drink as a bone broth.
A good rich chicken stock is hard to come by, especially one that doesn’t include things like “natural flavors” and other questionable ingredients. The best tasting stock or broth comes from long, slow cooking of the ingredients (meat, bones, and veggies). The bones are very important because they provide minerals; the long bones of the leg and thigh are filled with rich marrow, which has many health benefits. And don’t skimp on the quantity of meat – choose pasture-raised, preferably local; and/or increase the amount of water to make more stock, as the flavor just won’t be there.
A stock or bone broth is a bit different than a broth, tho they are related; the difference is in how long it is simmered. With a stock you’re not so much interested in flavor as you are nutritional support – bone stocks are extremely nourishing, and have long been used for people who are recovering from a long and terrible illness. See Bone Stock, a Liquid Asset by Ari LeVaux from the Missoula Independent newspaper (6). I’ve saved this as a pdf file in case the link is lost: Bone Stock by Ari LeVaux (pdf) (6).
Chicken stock can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week; in the freezer about 6 months.
- See also: 1. Soups and Stocks Menu; 2. Beef Stock or Broth, 3. Fish Stock or Broth, 4. Gelatin & Bone Broths (About); 5. Bone Broth, Crock-Pot Method; 6. Miscellaneous Menu (under Broth, Stock);
- Includes: 1. Rich Chicken Bone Broth/Stock; 2. Versatile Chicken Broth (for Soups): Mediterranean, Asian or Caribbean Flavor.
Rich Chicken Bone Broth/Stock Recipe
The recipes on this page are for a stock or bone broth (a version of stock); to make a broth, follow the recipe and be sure to include the meat, but simmer for a shorter time, just until meat is done.
For a drinkable bone broth, follow the stock recipe with the longer cooking time, then strain to save the liquid, which is then sipped as a healthful beverage rich in collagen and other nutrients. See also Bone Broth, Crock-Pot Method.
Traditional peoples prize bone broths/stocks as a rich source of gelatin, collagen and minerals. It is my belief that it is far healthier to consume gelatin in the form of a natural broth, than isolated in a powder. In fact, the process to isolate and dry the powder produces MSG from the glutamic acid in the protein. Also, while gelatin is rich in protein comprised by many essential amino acids, its protein is not easily digested. Cooking a bone broth, however gets around these issues, providing a rich source of partially-digested protein and amino acids, without the MSG. Refer to my article on Gelatin & Bone Broths for more.
This recipe is adapted from Eat Fat, Lose Fat, by Mary G. Enig and Sally Fallon. The use of the chicken’s head and feet may sound utterly disgusting, but they provide a lot of gelatin, and their use is quite common in Europe and Asia.
Dec 2016 update: Wellness Mamma has a bone broth recipe (5) on her blog that is very similar in method to mine. I like her idea of adding garlic and/or parsley at the end, so I’ve added that as optional additions to my recipe. Her posting also includes great information on the health benefits of bone broth.
If you raise and butcher your own chickens, save the feet and add, whole, to the pot. They are a rich source of minerals and gelatin.
I buy whole chickens (no head/feet, unfortunately) from a local Hutterite colony, reserve the neck and giblets for future stock, then cut up the chicken (or ask the butcher to do that) into drumsticks, thighs, wings, breast halves, and backs. I remove the tail from the back (I just don’t like the flavor it adds to stock). Then I separate the pieces for use as follows:
- Warp neck, giblets and bony back pieces for future stock. Wings can also be added. Then freeze them if not using right away for bone broth/stock. I also add once-used leg and thigh bones I save in my freezer, when ready to make the stock.
- Brine the breasts and freeze them for future use; if the breast halves are huge, I cut them in half, crosswise, after brining.
- Wrap the legs (thighs and drumsticks, not cut apart) in a freezer bag and freeze for future use. Sometimes I add the wings.
Add at least 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to the stock mix, as this works to maximize the release of minerals from the bones.
You get much more flavorful stock if you let it cook for 18 – 24 hours over a very low flame (I use my simmer plate). You lose volume, but you can add filtered water back after straining.
However, if you are cooking a whole chicken to make soup, I advise cooking only until chicken is done, remove pieces, remove meat from the bones, add bones back to the broth and continue to simmer for as long as desired. Put meat in fridge if not using right away.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- neck, back and wings from 1 chicken, plus head and feet (optional, if available); OR carcass/bones from 1 baked or roasted chicken, OR 1 whole chicken; plus saved, once-used bones and/or giblets
- 4 quarts filtered water (or more, to cover)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 tsp dried green peppercorns, crushed
- bunch of parsley (optional)
- 2 or more cloves garlic (optional)
- unrefined sea salt
- baking sheet
- large stainless steel pot of saucier
- large enameled or stainless steel stock pot
- Place chicken parts (but not giblets, if using) and/or reserved bones on baking sheet, and brown for 30 minutes in oven preheated to 4000 F (omit this step if using a whole chicken).
- Transfer to stock pot and add remaining ingredients. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature.
- Place on stove and heat over medium heat. Do not boil! When stock starts to simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting; you may need a simmer plate. Simmer gently; do not boil, for at least 2 hours, or as long as 24 hours to maximize the collagen content. During first two hours of simmer, spoon off frothy/foamy layer of impurities using a big spoon, and compost them.
- During last half-hour, add garlic and/or parsley, if using; season with salt and any optional spices or herbs.
- Remove chicken pieces and strain stock. Remove any meat from backs, neck and wings, and use in soups or salads. (If using a whole chicken, separate the meat from the bones and the skin after it cooks. The bones may be used to make a second batch of stock).
- Chill strained stock. If you need a clear stock, remove any fat that congeals at the top.
Versatile Soup Broth Recipe
This is a very versatile recipe, intended for soups, from the Daily Interlake newspaper in Kalispell MT. Note that it is simmered for a much shorter time (35 – 40 minutes) than the above stock recipe, making it more of a broth than a stock. Depending on which flavor mixture you use, you can create many different soups. Refer to International Chicken Soups or other recipes using these stocks.
I’ve not yet tested these recipes; I’m just so satisfied with my rich chicken stock recipe, above. You could certainly add any of the flavor mixtures from this recipe to my bone broth recipe, in the last 30 minutes of its cooking time.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- large stockpot
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 1 pound chicken pieces, with skin and bone
- one of the following flavor mixtures:
Mediterranean Flavor Mixture
- 1 – 3 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed with the flat side of a knife blade
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large bay leaves
- ¼ c dry white wine, such as dry vermouth
Asian Flavor Mixture
- 1 large leek, both white and part of the green part, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 3 – 6 thick slices fresh ginger root
- 1 small piece kombo (a Japanese seaweed)
- ¼ cup rice wine (mirin)
Caribbean Flavor Mixture
- 8 large peeled shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed with the flat side of a knife blade
- 4 cardamom pods
- leaves of 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed
- Place water, chicken pieces, and flavoring mixture in a large stockpot; heat to boiling, with the lid off. Reduce heat, and simmer 35-40 minutes, skimming off foam as it forms.
- Let cool 2 hours at room temperature. If not ready to use it right away (after the 2 hours), put it in the refrigerator.
- When ready to use, remove chicken and set aside (keep up to 2 days).
- Strain broth and chill to solidify the fat. Skim of the solid fat and reserve for other use, if a clear stock is desired.
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat; by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
- Daily Interlake newspaper, Kalispell, MT
- Daily Unadventurous photo: dailyunadventures.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-to-make-homemade-chicken-stock.html
- Wellness Mamma recipe: wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth
- Bone Stock, a Liquid Asset by Ari LeVaux from the Missoula Independent newspaper. I’ve saved this as a pdf file in case the link is lost: Bone Stock by Ari LeVaux (pdf)