We eat a lot of chicken (surprise!) As a result, we constantly have a pot of broth simmering on the stove. Chicken stock is a staple that most people purchase from the store for use in making soups, stews and simmering meat dishes. But that stuff in the tetra pack is NOTHING compared to a home-made stock simmered low and long. We use the whole chicken carcass, including the feet.
The feet are packed with protein, calcium, cartilage and collagen which are easily absorbed by the body. Consuming bone broth is great for joint health and arthritis. The longer you simmer your bone broth, the more of these nutrients become available. (I have simmered as long as 8 days)
Once I have taken all of the meat off my bird, I put the feet and carcass into my stock pot and fill it with hot water. Sometimes I will also add onions, broccoli stalks and other unusable vegetable parts (I save those in the freezer for this purpose.) It’s not necessary to do this to get really flavorful broth, but it does add even more nutrition.
Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to visible, but low simmer and cover. I simmer my stock for a minimum of 3 days, but most often 5-7 days! It becomes very rich and flavorful! Be sure to lift the lid and check once/day and see if you need to add water.
When I decide the broth is done (or I need that burner), I strain it through a metal strainer and freeze it in containers in 1cup, 2cup and 4cup quantities for cooking with or making soup. You can also fill ice cube trays and use a cube of broth in place of a bouillon cube in recipes.
After straining the broth, I’m left with a pile of bones. We have three dogs who show GREAT interest when those bones come out of the stockpot! Normally it is a big no-no to give dogs chicken bones because they can perforate their bowels. However, after simmering for several days the bones are so soft that I can literally crush them between my fingers with ease. I use a fork or a food processor and mush them down and put them in our dogs food. Please note: if you have added onions or garlic to your stock, please be sure to pull those items out before serving to your dogs. Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs.
Go make some soup! It’s a great time of year for that!
Jennifer and Brian