One of my favorite nourishing practices is making my own bone broth.

nehe_chicken

I’ve been making my own chicken broth for quite some time as it’s something that’s been passed down through my mother.  Usually by making puchero or paella.  However, It’s only been since this last year that I started to learn about all of the health benefits of broth.  I now make large batches of chicken and beef broth which I freeze in pint jars to use in almost all of my dishes. I’m still trying to find a good source of whole fresh fish to make fish stock. If you live near a coast, take advantage of fish and seafood :)

Broth or stock goes back centuries as a source of nourishment and for its medicinal properties.  Made properly, broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily.  By adding a couple tablespoons of vinegar to your broth it releases calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals from the bones.  It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons, like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which are now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about homemade broth is the extraction of collagen or gelatin from the bones and joints.

Properly made broth will gell just like jell-0.  The gelatin in broth itself has been noted to aid in digestion.  According to Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease by Allison Siebecker, she notes that gelatin has been researched to aid in the digestion of milk. the digestibility of beans and meat, and that gelatin increased the utilization of the protein in wheat, oats and barley, all gluten containing grains.

To summarize, gelatin (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: food allergies, dairy maldigestion, colic, bean maldigestion, meat maldigestion, grain maldigestion, hypochlorhydria, hyperacidity (gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, ulcer, hiatal hernia) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, weight loss, muscle wasting, cancer, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and anemia. 

For an extensive list of all of the health benefits behind broth, please visit  Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease by Allison Siebecker.

Commercially bought stock does not compare to what can be made at home with the proper bones.  Usually devoid of minerals and sometimes not even made from bones.  Making your own stock is simple, nourishing and frugal!

Besides the innumerable health benefits behind homemade broth, there is absolutely no substitute for it in your cooking.  Behind every excellent chef and home cook is broth made from scratch.  From reduction sauces, gravies, soups and stews, thought and time is put into the broth which makes up the heart of the dish.  I use broth in almost all of my dishes.  When cooking rice, pasta, enchilada sauces, stews, chili’s and gravy. When you start to think about everything that you incorporate water into, that’s when you can substitute it for homemade broth and benefit from all of the minerals and gelatin.

Where do you get your bones?

  • I have been ordering them from grassfed cows from my family farmers.  Ask for soup bones.  You’ll get nice bones with bone marrow and slabs of meat, perfect for flavor.
  • Instead of buying pre-cut chicken, get into the habit of buying whole chickens and cutting it up yourself.  You’ll have the added benefit of adding the back pieces, neck and gizzards to your broth. (I have a great guest-post coming up on how to cut a chicken!) Make sure to save all of the pieces of bones.  Or what I do is put an entire chicken into a pot and slow cook it all day and I will use that meat for enchilada’s or pulled chicken sandwiches.  Super easy to throw into a crock pot and walk away ;)
  • Save, Save, Save, meat bones!  After eating steaks, broiled meat, get into the habit of saving those bones in the freezer.  After 3 – 4 lbs have been collected, you can make a batch of broth.

Really, it’s just thinking about saving your bones and substituting broth into your meals.  Sadly, this is a tradition that has gone by the wayside, but we can bring it back!

Here are a couple recipes for Bone Stock from Nourishing Traditions, with some alterations ;)

Chicken Stock

chicken_feet

For chicken stock, definitely use chickens feet if you can find them!  Seems gross and wierd, but they are full of gelatin!  I also have my family farmers save these for me, I think they’re great! :D

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 – 3lbs of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings.
  • gizzards from one chicken (optional)
  • feet from the chicken (optional)
  • 4 quarts filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coursely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley
chicken_broth

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity.  By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them – they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth. Farm raised, free-range chickens will give the best results.  Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

Cut chicken parts into several pieces.  (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley.  Let stand 30 minutes to an hour.  Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours.  The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.  About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley.  This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pices with a slotted spoon.  If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses.

Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals.  Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

Beef Stock

meat

Good beef stock must be made with several sorts of bones: knuckle bones and feet impart large quantities of gelatin to the broth; marrow bones impart flavor and the particular nutrients of bone marrow; and meaty rib or neck bones add color and flavor.

Ingredients:

  • about 4lbs beef marrow and knuckle bones
  • 1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional, ask your family farmer to reserve you a calves foot and asked to be cut in 1 inch cubes)
  • 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
  • 4 or more quarts cold filtered water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks chopped
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
  • 1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon
beef_broth

Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water.  Let stand for one hour.

Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven.  When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables.  Pour the fat out of the roasting pan and add 4 tbls of tomato paste and 1 cup of red wine to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices.  Add this liquid to the pot.  Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking.

Bring to a boil.  A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon.  After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and peppercorns.

Simmer stock for at least 12 hours and as long as 72 hours.  Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes.

Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon.  Strain the stock into a large bowl.  Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top.  Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.

I hope you enjoy this nourishing practice as much as I do!

Healthy Chicken Broth on Foodista

This Post is a part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!


62 Responses to The Miracles of Broth

  1. Deliciously Organic says:

    Great post! I love the picture of the chicken feet…perfect for halloween! :)

  2. Paula - bell'alimento says:

    Very informative Diana.I just made a homemade veggie stock last week & it was delish. I now have a freezer full of it (am thinking I'm probably going to need a chest freezer soon LOL) Can't wait to make the chicken stock. Hope it gels ; )

  3. Diana Bauman says:

    Deliciously Organic – Aren't the feet great, mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!!

    Paula – I've yet to make a batch of chicken broth that gels. It's still super nutritious! I need a second deep freeze, I'm running out of room!

  4. Divina Pe says:

    I just love making stock. They are nothing compared to store-bought chicken or beef stock. Thanks for the additional information.

  5. Eric Goranson says:

    Why remove wings and neck before making chicken broth?

  6. Diana Bauman says:

    Hi Eric! Thanks for stopping by! You know, that's how it's written in Nourishing Traditions, and I feel that it's because these pieces contain more of the gelatin that can be released. I haven't cut up these pieces and am going to be doing this the next time to test it out and see if my chicken stock gels! I'll definitely let you know!

  7. Claudia Medeiros says:

    Precious information , Diana ! I'll make the chicken stock recipe .
    Thank you so much for sharing :)

    xoxo

  8. Living A Whole Life says:

    Thanks so much for this great info! I'm about 5 months pregnant and want to start experimenting with making my own bone broth as a means of feeding my growing baby and healing after birth. Not to mention it's a just a great way to bring added nutrition to my whole family!

    Karla

  9. alexis says:

    Great post! I love to make stock, but I've never had the courage to use the chicken feet! My husband's family is Peruvian, and they actually eat the feet in a stew! It's a mental thing with me, but I just can't force myself to use them in stock!

  10. Erica says:

    I love home made chicken, beef or vegetable stock!Great post, Diana :)

  11. Fresh Local and Best says:

    Diana,

    Bravo for writing such an informative and comprehensive article on broth. Adding vinegar to broth is a very good tip! I miss those days in San Francisco, when I was able to pick up delicious organic marrow bones that create such delicious, rich beef broth.

    Also kudos for using chicken feet, necks and gizzard, not only do these parts add nuances of flavor, the feet add a beautiful gelatinous texture.

    If you haven't tried oxtails in beef broth, this bone part also is rich in gelatin, and oh so delicious!

    I adore your blog!

    Christine

  12. Diana Bauman says:

    Claudia, besitos!

    Karla – I love your site! Thanks for the comment. A book I would recommend which I will definitely buy if I have another one, is real food for mother and baby by Nina Planck. The fertility diet, eating for two and baby's first foods. This book alone makes me want to have another one, lol!!

    Alexis – The chicken feet used to gross me out to, lol!! That was until I actually learned how to process chickens. Now they don't phase me, ha!

    Erica – Besitos Amiga!!

    Christine – Thanks for your sweet comment and the oxtail info. I actually have an oxtail coming soon and will be making a stew from it, YUMMO! Can't wait ;)

  13. girlichef says:

    Gorgeous post and photos! Making your own stock is one of the best practices…kudos for this super informative post :D

  14. Foy and Jeff says:

    Beautiful article! I love making broth for it's flavor, I had no idea it had added health bennifits.

  15. whineaux (Dawn) says:

    I was not aware of all the health benefits, but I do know I feel better when I have a cup of broth! Great post. Must be the season I just posted on making Turkey Broth!

  16. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    I always save wings, necks, and backs of chickens to make broth with. Just the other day, though, I managed to keep enough beef bones (I was cutting up whole roasts for beef stew for 40 people) to make a wonderful pho stock. I don't usually seek out beef bones, but I should! I love how rich the marrow makes everything taste!

  17. Joan Nova says:

    I'm so glad you led with that beautiful photo of your child with those gorgeous long lashes and not the chicken feet. I don't know if I'd have scrolled down.

  18. Anne Ritchings says:

    I, too, am a big promoter of making your own broth or stock. You would enjoy Jennifer McLagan's book, Bones.

  19. Robyn says:

    I followed a link from twitter about this post. I am so glad I did. I have been wanting to perfect my broth recipe and you've given me some great info to begin with. Thanks!

  20. myblissfulbites says:

    very informative thank you for sharing

  21. Fuji Mama says:

    This is such an awesome post! Thank you for putting so much work into it!!

  22. Carla says:

    Diana,
    You have a beautiful blog. Love your posts and pics. I too stash bones in the freezer for later use of broth making. Have to admit though, I feel like some of the others about the chicken feet, yikes! Funnt, I just posted on added bonus of broth when boiling chicken for a recipe. I have tried all sorts of recipes and will have to give yours a try. Glad I found you on FoodBuzz. Keep up the wonderful posts. Bravo.
    Carla

  23. Diana Bauman says:

    Thanks so much for the comments! Great to hear that so many of us are already making our own broth!

    Joan – You made me laugh, haha!! You'd of hated seeing my Tita in Spain, cleaning out a chicken IN the house! HA!! I've got so much of her running through my veins :)

    Anne – Thank you for the book suggestion. Will be checking it our for sure!

    Robyn – Thanks for stopping by!

  24. Miranda says:

    Love it! I only make homemade broth also. When the kids are sick I make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles….There is nothing better!!!

  25. knownbyname says:

    Amiga – I have my huge All Clad stock pot on the stove right now – making Beef bone broth. I had just started getting the ingredients together when I saw your post – and switched gears and am following your recipe. I love it! We have a cow in the freezer – I *almost* added the oxtail to this batch, darn it all! I will next time, tho! We are so glad we said "yes, include the bones" when they asked before they processed the cow!

    Great post!

  26. 5 Star Foodie says:

    What a terrific post! Your broths sound excellent! I love the picture of the chicken feet!

  27. Amber says:

    Diana – I've never heard of adding vinegar. I'll have to try that.

    A good stock, with lots of gelatin, makes such pretty, shiny sauces when reduced. And the gelatin adds so much body to your dishes, unlike plain old store bought broth.

    Great post. I feel healthier already.

    Cheers!

  28. Chow and Chatter says:

    great tips for broth diana, my mum would always make her own as well, tastes so good

  29. My Little Space says:

    Nice posting regarding broth! I don't used these often. But I'll make chicken stock instead by using chicken bones. As always, I boil directly together with the veggies for the soup.

  30. foodrenegade.com says:

    What lovely, gelatinous broths. Absolutely perfect and very well done! I bet they taste fantastic.

    Thanks for participating in today's Fight Back Friday carnival fun.

    Cheers,
    ~KristenM
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  31. Simply Life says:

    Once again, you continue to amaze and inspire me – I love this post and idea!

  32. Kelly the Kitchen Kop says:

    Cool pictures – the feet made me do a double take. :)

    Making some stock today, hoping to counter-act the effects of all the candy last night!

    Thanks for joining in at Real Food Wednesdays!

    Kelly

  33. Jennifer Cote says:

    It's all so true! And that stuff out of a box is just no comparison, is it?!

  34. Linda says:

    Hi Diana … I cut through all the bones to open them up before putting them in the pot. Gels every time! For a deeper, richer flavor and color I'll roast the chicken parts for a bit, then cut them up and put them in the pot. I simmer it all day long … I love making stock! Super yummy and super healthy! What a great post!

  35. Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul says:

    This is an excellent post!

  36. Denise @ Creative Kitchen says:

    So glad you shared this post with me Diana!! I've attempted chicken broth before & I guess I get wierded out by the "scum." Your detailed instructions and seeing everyone chime in makes it seem more normal to me. I was raised by vegetarians so my mom never made homemade stock/broth. My granparents ahd a farm, but I guess I missed out when she was making broth. They were big homesteaders back in the 70s so I know they did.

    I have done turkey soup successfully with leftover from Thanksgiving. It was delicious!! My SIL taught me how to do that.

    Your post makes it seem doable…and will have to try sometime.

    QUESTION – Should I save bones even if they are not from an organic animal? The kids and I mostly eat organic meat, but hubby buys regular at times.

  37. Julie says:

    In the past few months, we've gotten in the habit of buying whole chickens rather than the boneless parts, and I always make chicken stock with the carcasses after roasting. I use the crockpot and let it cook overnight, and by morning I have beautiful rich stock that sets up into chicken jello.

    I've never heard of adding vinegar to my stocks to help release more minerals from the bone, but I'll start making that part of my regular practice!

  38. Heather E says:

    I am so glad I stumbled onto your website! I recently started buying my meat from a local farm, and the stock made from my farm raised chicken gelled just like you said. But since that had never happened before I thought I had messed it up and was afraid to use it! Well I will be making some soup tonight from leftovers and happily using my healthy stock! Thanks for the info!!

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  43. [...] So, in the midst of exhaustion, I made a simple potato soup with homemade chicken broth. [...]

  44. stef de fla says:

    Awesome post! I ended up here by checking your posole recipe. I make my own broth because I’m allergic to MSG but I didn’t know all the benefits of homemade broth. I didn’t know about the gelatin in chicken feet either. I will start buying them at my Asian store.

  45. [...] and have been diligent on feeding my family real foods, including tons of vegetables, fruits, and broth.  We also take a daily supplement of vitamin c and raw Garden of Life multi-vitamins for kids, [...]

  46. Amber says:

    I save the peels and ends of my onions as well as odd bits of carrots and celery. I stick them in a freezer bag in the freezer and use them in my broth.

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  54. Astrea Jones says:

    Could the simmering process be done in the crockpot? 6-24 hours is an awful of of propane!

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  56. Amanda says:

    First time I ever made homemade stock, the recipe I had was “bones and whatever vegetable scraps you’ve saved, minus red onions [and other veggies that color the stock]“. I used onion skins, carrot peelings, celery leaves, tater bits. It made wonderful stock, was ridiculously cheap (since you use veggie leftovers), and easy to make.

    Thanks for the tips on cooking longer, using feet, and why exactly it’s good to use the carcass (bones).

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