In my previous post, I went through the steps to roast a chicken with the intention of introducing those who are new to cooking, to a simple recipe that they can start with and then make their own. Now that the meal is over, what to do with the leftovers? You can use the rest of the meat for sandwiches and perhaps a pot pie. The sky’s the limit really. This post will help you deal with the carcass of your roast chicken and turn that into something not only delicious but nourishing as well.
Bone broth has become the latest and greatest thing here on the west coast while the folks in New York and L.A. have their own bone broth to-go places already, it has not quite hit Lotus land here in B.C. just yet. There are a few places that offer it and I can think of one start up but It’s only a matter of time before we are going to overrun with bone broth bars. I think it’s a good thing. It will make a nice change from the standard offerings of just coffee and teas.
There are several reasons for the resurgence of this much heralded elixir other than health benefits. Ask your Grandma about why she made bone broth and she’ll tell you that they never wasted anything. That’s why they made it. If you are going to the trouble of sourcing pastured and humanely raised poultry, then it makes financial and ethical sense to get the most out of your purchase. Bone broth is filled with gut healing nutrients, joint protecting glucosamine, collagen for healthy skin and nails and even glycine for a restful sleep. Considering it’s just leftover bones, you are getting much more from the broth than just soup stock to make casseroles and flavouring rice. Keep in mind that if you don’t want to deal with the carcass right at that moment, you can just place the cooled carcass in a large freezer bag and make the broth on another day. I would aim for somewhere in a few weeks as it’s taking up your valuable freezer space.
I usually have no leftovers from the chicken because we have boys that eat non-stop, so I usually put the carcass into a pot to start the broth while I’m doing the dishes after dinner. I pull as much meat off first ( if any) and put that away in the fridge. Pictured below is the roasted onion and rest of the chicken that is left from the bird. I save the chicken bits to turn into a puree to make chicken dog biscuits. You can add them to the stock if you would like.
Next I take a large pot or Dutch oven and place the carcass, any vegetables roasted with the chicken and 1 or 2 bays leaves into the pot and fill it up with water to about 1.5 inches from the top making sure that enough water covers the bones. My Mother had taught me that in order to draw the minerals and nutrients from the bones of the chicken, to add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water. You can add your choices of spices and seasonings to your water at this point like garlic, pepper, any leftover vegetables to build the flavor profile you want. This is purely to your taste. I do not add salt until the broth is nearly done, some people add it at the beginning so please yourself to make it your own. Next, Place a lid on top and set the stove on medium high.
Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to set to a very low simmer. I usually let it simmer for at least 3 hours because I want to give the broth time to cool before I put it away in the fridge before I go to bed. (That is why I put the pot on when I’m clearing up the dinner dishes) Alternatively, you could use a crock pot and just put the lid on a forget about it for a few days like a friend of mine does. Occasionally turn the bones over and you can skim the fat and bits off the top of your stock. Some people will just leave it and take the fat off when the mixture has cooled like I do. Some folks just leave it and use it as is. For new cooks, I would recommend you skim off the fat while you are cooking it. If you don’t, the stock will have a higher fat content and quite an oily mouthfeel to it which you may not want in a soup recipe. Some Central European cultures value the chicken fat and render it to make ” schmaltz” to make a spread for bread or for use for frying.
How long you want to boil it for depends on how much you time you have and what method you are using. (Stove versus the crock pot) I save the crock pot method for the weekends when I know I’m going to be home all day but you want the bones to be soft and falling apart.
Next, remove the bones from the pot and strain your broth into jars using a metal sieve . I do not recommend plastic containers for storing your broth. I use 1 Litre jars and usually fill them up leaving a few inches of headspace to allow room for expansion. This allows the perfect amount for amount of stock for making a soup I make (chicken noodle) with a little left over to make some dog biscuits. (That recipe to follow) What ever size container you use, just make sure it works for you and how you will use it. This should be stored in the fridge when cooled and used within a few days. You could use an ice cube tray and freeze it to make little individual servings.
The shelf life of the stock in the freezer is quite long but I would recommend using it within 2 to 3 months. The difference in taste in quality will astound you and you’d be hard pressed to find a store bought brand that could compare.
I hope this has taken the mystery of making bone broth for you. Please let me know if you try it and if you have any questions.