This is so easy and so nourishing that it is almost crazy I just started making it a few months ago. I would buy chicken stock at the grocery store and now I look at the ingredients and realize it isn’t even close to the same for our bodies.
The perception is that it is easier, more convenient, or less expensive to buy at the store but, in this case, I have found all of these to be false. This recipe requires about 10 min of prep time and 10 min of finish time. The rest is watching the pot (or not watching it) for 24 hours. How hard is that?
It is also more economical to do it yourself. All you need is a chicken or two, or just some cheap soup bones, an onion and celery and maybe a few carrots if you have it. That is it. And after you cook the chickens you can shred and use the meat for chicken salads or enchiladas – it is truly many meals in one.
I freeze everything I make in quart containers and it lasts me a few weeks or more depending on how much I make and use. I use a large pot so I get about 8 quarts of stock and 2 quarts of shredded chicken meat. I would say that is a lot less expensive than purchasing a quart of organic store bought ‘stock’ (water and artificial flavorings) for $5.
So back to why I make this – bone broths have many minerals and they help seal your gut lining. Stock helps you better digest your food. Stock contains a lot of iron. I am drinking a cup of broth at every meal and I also use it for making rice (so good), soups and sauces.
- 1-2 whole free-range chicken(s) and/or 2-3 lbs chicken backs
- 1 lb chicken feet
- 1 gallon cold filtered water or enough to fill the stock pot 3/4 of the way up to the top of the ingredients
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 bouquet garni (wrap the following herbs in a cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine: 1 bay leaf, 1 large bunch fresh thyme, 1 bunch fresh parsley, 1 handful tarragon stems)
Place the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and the bouquet garni in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add in all of the chicken and fill 2/3 of the way up the chicken with water. Pour in the vinegar and let the mixture stand for 30-60 minutes. This releases the minerals from the bones.
TIP: Store onion ends, carrot ends and peels, and celery ends in the freezer to use for making stock.
Slowly bring to a gentle simmer (this should take about 45 minutes) and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Add the herbs, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for 12-24 hours, skimming every hour or so for the first few hours. The longer the cooking time the richer the stock.
Strain the stock through a colander lined with a cheesecloth. Place the stock in the fridge until the broth congeals and the fat rises to the top. Skim off the fat and reserve it for future projects. Store the stock in the freezer for long term storage (more than three days).
Remove the chicken meat from the bones and use in casseroles, salads or soup.
Want to know more about the do’s and don’ts of stock making? Get tips and techniques for stock making in my eBook, The Homemade Mommy Handbook.
UPDATE: How to Make Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot!
Photo credit: merelymel13, on flickr
Curious…For what “future projects” might you use the skimmed fat that you removed at the very end?
Lindsey @ Homemade Mommy says
I saute chicken livers in what we call ‘schmaltz’! You can also use a spread on breads.
Hi! I love your blog! I have a question on the bone broth, are the chicken feet a must have for the broth or can they be eliminated? thanks
Lindsey G. says
Thanks! They are optional!
E Mom says
Hi, thanks for the great website & recipes!
I read in another recipe book that I shouldn’t/can’t freeze the stock, then defrost, use, and refreeze the new dish that I use the previously frozen stock in. Do you agree with this?
when i make stock, I often cook the chicken first, debone it, and then cook the bones secondarily as broth. if i understand your receipe correctly, you cook the whole chicken raw directly into stock (and then remove the meat at the end)? thanks for clarifying…
Lindsey G. says
I do it either way but in this recipe you are correct, I am dumping the chicken in raw. I remove the meat at the end or a few hours into cooking depending on when I need to use the meat.
Greetings 🙂 One more clarification please. At what point would the meat of the chicken become a more undesirable “texture” if you are using whole raw chickens to begin with as opposed to the whole carcass & or random bones from a previously cooked chicken earlier in the week… OR chicken backs & feet (as called for in the recipe). Please forgive me for my total lack of knowledge in regards to this as I am COMPLETELY new to making bone broths / stock. My husband thinks if we were to cook a whole raw chicken using this recipe for the ENTIRE DURATION cooking time of 12-24 hours it very well may yield a meat texture which is rubbery or an otherwise undesirable texture. We basically don’t want to waste our $$ on whole organic ~ pasture fed chicken which we just spent an arm & a leg on from a local family farm just 8 miles from our home. :/ Your suggestions are very much appreciated! Warm thanks to you for your time! Lots of Love & Light your way!
Lindsey G. says
This is a great question. I usually leave them in but agree – the texture isn’t so great after an evening of cooking in the pot. I have started removing the meat after about 4 hours cook time. I just throw the bones back in the pot. I only do this with the whole chicken I put in there – I don’t bother with wings or backs – I just remove those later. I am very finicky about disturbing my broth!
Kat Rader says
What would you use the fat (from the cooked chicken broth) for?
Lindsey G. says
I use it to fry up chicken livers!
Making broth for the first time and forgot to skim! Was this a crucial step? Also, what is the reasoning behind removing the fat? I saw this step in Nourishing Traditions too…I thought fat added flavor?? Thanks for your help!
Lindsey Gremont says
Don’t sweat it! You are doing well. I often forget to skim. It is just a bit muddier but you can still eat it!
As for the fat – many skim off – I do depending on how much is there. I can use it for frying up chicken livers. Delish!
Tracy S. says
Thank you so much for posting this! I boil at least one chicken a week to use the meat in casseroles, burritos and other meals, but I had no idea I could be making bone broth at the same time! All the other recipes I found suggested roasting chicken or turkey first, and then making the bone broth. I’m glad I can do it all at the same time, more or less. Thank you!!
Millie Kemrer says
I’m so thrilled you mentioned this about chicken stock. Whole Foods has a line of Non-GMO chicken and they had backs. I seasoned & roasted them in the oven in a separate pan with roasted veggies. The veggies where for the soup after the stock was finished. I picked all the meat off the bones and also had “left over” fresh cuttings of veggies which went into the pot with the backs. Cooked it until the veggies got soft, strained out the veggies and bones and the broth went into the pot. Heated up the roasted veggies in the stock and viola Soup (enough for 2 meals, 2 people from 4 backs and veggie cuttings). Going to stock up on backs for make ahead broth.
Thanks so much.
I am confused on when to add the herbs. In the first paragraph of the directions, you say to put the herbs in the bottom of the pot and then to add the water. Later you say to add the herbs after bringing the pot to a simmer. Could you please clarify? thanks!
Lindsey Gremont says
You can add them at either place. It really doesn’t make a difference. Enjoy your soup!