Nourishing Chicken "Bits" Bone Broth (Scrap "Bits" Stock Recipe)
If you haven't heard by now, bone broth is all the rage. And for good reason! It really is as good for you as you may have heard. There's plenty of science behind why, and we may actually dig more into that in a future post. For now, we're more focused on the tradition and the how-to!
There's a pretty good chance that you have been given or recommended chicken soup when you were sick. Traditionally, chicken soup would have been made by cooking a whole chicken, pulling the meat off the bone for later, and letting all of the rest simmer down for a long time, maybe adding veggies (or vegetable scraps). THIS is the chicken soup that actually really helps when you're sick (or just hungry!) Added bonus- it's really easy to make and costs you nothing more than you would have already bought for the soup.
Stocks are a great way to use up vegetable scraps as well as the parts of a chicken (or other animal) that you may not have otherwise eaten. We tend to keep an ongoing bag in the freezer of garlic, onion, carrot ends and peels, celery tops and bottoms, herb or mushroom stems and all those other "bits" that typically get discarded as you cook. They can either get cooked into a veggie stock on their own (just cover with water and simmer about 4 hours) or use them to flavor and enrich your other stocks! Now for the chicken! Whether you roast, poach or otherwise cook the chicken yourself, or you start with a rotisserie, the process is the same. *Pull the meat all out of the chicken, leaving the bones, skin and all the other "bits" along with any juice or broth or cooking water you have. If you have the feet- EVEN BETTER! Definitely use those. Use the meat for whatever you like, or save it for soup the next night! *Put all the "bits" into a stock pot, add veggies and any other optional bonuses (such as dulse, other seaweeds, herbs or mushrooms/ mushroom powders). Cover with water and place on stovetop, covered. A good tip at this stage is to add a tablespoon or two of vinegar and let them bones sit for about an hour. This will help draw out the minerals. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low until you are just getting occasional bubbles (super low simmer) or place in crockpot on low. Cook for at least 24 hours. This 24 hours is key and cannot be rushed or replicated (even with pressure) in order to let all the natural collagen, gelatin, minerals and other goodness escape. Those are the parts you want the most! *After 24 hours or more, once your bones are nice and soft, strain stock through fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth and place in jars for storage. If freezing, remember to leave about 1/3 of your jar space so it doesn't burst! Stock can be stored in the refrigerator about 1 week or in the freezer for months. Use for soups but don't limit yourself! Add them into your sauces (mac and cheese with some bone broth is next level good!), cook your grains in them (use it instead of water for your rice and tell me it isn't the best!) or even add a spoonful into your scrambled eggs! Seriously- don't knock it till you try it. We would love to hear what you add to your stocks and how you use them! What other tips do you have!?