I make chicken (or turkey in October and December) and beef broth every couple of weeks and I store it in jars in our freezer. It’s an essential part of our diet for use in flavorful soups, pot pies and rice dishes. It’s also economical when you can get bags of bones for next to nothing from a local butcher. I highly recommend “organic”, “grass fed”, “free range”, or “pastured”, as these animals are allowed to feed on their natural food sources, allowing us to receive an abundance of essential nutrients, and staying away from the toxins in non-organic meat. Bones from pastured animals are extremely nourishing and healing, especially for our joints and bones. Simple bone broth is rich in flavor and just needs salt added to taste, and you can make it as concentrated or thin as you like. Once you make your own free range bone broth, you will soon find the taste just can’t be compared to any store-bought broth!
To make chicken broth, I often start with cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot on high for 4-5 hours, or just use leftover bones from roasted chicken legs (cheap and super tasty!). Once I’ve cooked a whole chicken I remove the meat, and use some of it in our dinner that night. I put the rest in a shallow dish to cool in the fridge, separate in meal size portions (for things like pot pie, chicken chili, enchiladas, etc) and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags or containers. Place in large pot (you can use crockpot or large steel pot). I cover bones with enough water to just cover and approximately 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (draws out the nourishing minerals) and refrigerate overnight. This seems to really draw out the gelatin making a nicer broth. Simmer for 7 hours or more. It’s important to keep the heat low to retain the nutrients. Just ladle out the liquid, or pour through a strainer to remove all the little bits. Put into jars, refrigerate and freeze, or use for your soup today! When cooled it should be like a jelly (from the awesome gelatin that is oh-so-good for you). This broth is just amazing for soups and gravies. A great post on chicken broth is here at keeperofthehome.org.
To make beef broth I buy bones (neck, knuckle and/or marrow bones) from one of our local free range meat shops, which I defrost in the fridge overnight. I then roast them (optional, the roasting supposedly deepens the flavor) for around 45 minutes at high heat, covered with foil in the oven, or brown for 10-15 minutes in a large pot on medium high heat, covered on the stovetop. Place just enough water to cover the bones in a large pot, bring to a boil, then quickly dump out the scummy water, and refill with nice filtered water. Adding a Tbsp apple cider vinegar will draw out the nutrients into your broth. At a low heat simmer for around 12-24 hours. I also have added extras such as vegetable ends, onion skins, a couple inches of peeled ginger, which create a delicious aroma and flavor as well. Rinsed (organic) egg shells kept in the freezer add even more incredible nutrition to your stock (which are strained of course!). I usually check every so often to see that it isn’t bubbling and boiling too much, but still cooking. I remove the meat on the bones and reserve for soup. You can now pour into mason jars (leaving a couple inches of space on top!) and refrigerate or freeze. I usually remove most of the solidified white fat at the top when I am ready to use the broth beneath, but the tallow (fat) may also be used in cooking. Be nourished and enjoy!
Some of favorite basic ingredient combinations for soups include:
Chicken broth with sauted carrots, celery, seasoned generously with sea salt, pepper, and adding any type of short rice noodle or rice at the end. Chickpeas, egg and spinach are also tasty and nourishing additions.
Beef broth and barley, lentils or potatoes, with onion, carrots, celery, garlic, small turnips, tomato paste and beef meat (ground or leftovers), seasoned generously with thyme, sea salt, pepper, and garnished with parsley.
Lamb broth in a delicious scotch broth, with barley, carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, turnips, sea salt and pepper.
I generally use between 4-6 cups of homemade broth for a soup pot. Season well for punch, taste test often, and don’t water your broth down too much for a delicious soup!
I also highly recommend this Homemade Soup Broth post by Stephanie Langford for more information and ideas!