Homemade chicken broth is one of my favorite foods. Once you start making your own, it’s so hard to go back to the store bought version. I do pick up some at the store if I’m in a pinch and don’t have any on hand, or the ingredients to make it (namely, if I don’t have enough bones stored up in my freezer). A good organic version works well, but the flavor of homemade broth is so concentrated, it’s hard to compare.
During the winter, homemade chicken broth not only adds incredible flavor to all the soups, stews and casseroles you will be making, but it also serves as a healing tonic for your body. Chicken broth made with organic, pasture-raised chicken bones yields some seriously healing vitamins and minerals into the water when allowed to simmer for long periods of time.
The old trick of eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup when you have a cold actually came from this! So next time you feel a tickle in your throat or have a cold coming on, drink a cup (or two or three) of homemade chicken broth with a little sea salt added for flavor. I’m actually sipping on a cup right now!
Of course, you can make broth with any kind of bones – beef bones, leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, ham bones, etc. You can even leave the bones out and make a vegetable stock.
- 1 whole organic chicken
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, skins removed
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- Place thawed, uncooked chicken into your slow cooker.
- Pour in filtered water and set on low for 4-5 hours.
- Gently remove the meat from the bones and save the meat for another meal
- Put bones back into the water.
- Pour in apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, and bay leaves.
- Add vegetables, whether fresh or frozen scraps.
- Add more water until everything is covered.
- Cook on low for 12-24 hours (the longer you let it cook, the more nutrients will be drawn out of the bones and vegetables.)
- Turn the slow cooker off and allow the broth to cool enough to be handled.
- Remove all the vegetables and bones with a slotted spoon, pressing on them to remove all the liquid. Strain the remaining broth and bottle into old glass jars or mason jars. Broth can be frozen and thawed when ready to use. When freezing in glass, be sure to leave room for expansion so your glass doesn’t break.
Note on vegetables: I’m a big proponent of no food waste. Because of this, I’d suggest saving all your vegetable scraps throughout the month from cooking other recipes. Onion tops, the ends of carrots, squash peels, wilted veggies in your crisper, throw them all into a gallon-sized plastic bag and save in the freezer until it’s time to make broth. If you do this, you can skip the fresh vegetables called for in the recipe and just dump one bag full of vegetable scraps in with the bones when cooking.
How to use leftover meat: We love to use this to make enchiladas, nachos, chicken salad, etc. You can plan to use it within the week or freeze the chicken for later.