Crock-Pot Chicken Broth

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Mmmmmmmmmmm, mouthwatering.

Or, rather, not. Not yet, at least.

These bones are destined for rich, wholesome chicken broth. Deeply gold-tinged, mouth-filling goodness that nourishes you, body and soul.

Chicken broth (or bone broth), is as old as time itself. From East to West, people have made salty, savory stocks from meat or fish bones. These simmered for hours, and formed the basis not just of soups, but of lovely sauces and sautés. I’ve heard that a French chef is never without a good stock, the secret to a good meat reduction, or glace.

But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Rich broth isn’t just for gourmands. In fact, it’s most often an economically-driven endeavor.

Making stock from chicken, beef, or fish bones helps you make something out of nothing.

If you’re the kind of person who has to do more with less, using the bones of whatever meat you’re cooking can be enormously helpful. Chicken broth or vegetable broth can become one less thing you pick up at the store. It also costs next to nothing to make. You use the bones of a chicken you already purchased and ate, then you throw in the peelings of whatever vegetables you have used recently. Think: the tops and tails of carrots, peelings from potatoes, the lacy tops of celery, and the tougher layer of an onion. Add some water. Toss in a bay leaf and some peppercorns, and you’ve got a TERRIFIC broth waiting for you.

But I thought you said they simmer for hours?

They do, but I have a Crock-Pot, a.k.a. man-made genius. So, I plug in my Crock-Pot and let my broth simmer on low for up to 18 hours. You can do this in a regular pot on the stove, but I would suggest simmering on low for at least six hours, so you may have to give up an afternoon to babysit it. I have done it both ways.

Why the long simmer?

Broth needs to simmer for longer, as opposed to meat stock, which takes just a few hours. The benefits of broth extend far past the deeper, more complex flavor. Since broth simmers for a longer period, the nutrients stored in the marrow of the bones, as well as in the joints and cartilage, are able to be released. These vitamins and minerals diffuse throughout the broth, and you end up eating a soup that’s a veritable vitamin storehouse.

Daniel and I eat more soup during the cold months because it’s DELICIOUS, and also because it helps us “take our vitamins,” so to speak. I don’t want to over-assert myself, but I thought I’d mention that Daniel and I didn’t get sick once, this winter. It was the first time we had ever had homemade broth on a regular basis. Causal relationship? Maybe. I suggest that someone gathers the funds to do a bigger case study. 🙂

So, let’s get on with it. You ready to get brothy?

Crock-Pot Chicken Broth Recipe

Carcass from one roasted chicken (can be a purchased rotisserie chicken), skin included

one onion, with papery skin removed

three organic celery stalks, rinsed (or equivalent in celery scraps)

one or two organic carrots (or carrot peelings), unpeeled but rinsed of any debris

ANY other vegetable scraps you can think of (I store mine in a bag in the freezer.)

splash of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (can be omitted)

one bay leaf

4-5 peppercorns

water, to cover

Place the bones and skin of the chicken in the bottom of your Crock-Pot. Add enough water to cover by an inch or two. Add a splash of unfiltered (raw) apple cider vinegar. This allegedly helps the nutrients leach out of the bones. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and spices, cover the Crock-Pot, and turn it on low for 12-18 hours. If you’ve ever watched Juno, you know the quote about “Lipton Landing.” Please feel free to enjoy a similar smell in your house this ENTIRE time. Once it is done simmering, strain it through a fine mesh strainer, and store in containers in the fridge or freezer. Make sure to leave room in the top of these containers, if you plan on freezing it! You don’t want a blow-out.

Salt your broth at the end of the cooking time, to taste. If you prefer to leave it unsalted, that’s also okay. I do both, depending on how I’m going to use it.

Here’s the illustrated version for my visual friends:

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Take the aftermath of your latest roast chicken and begin to sort through it. You want to entirely separate usable meat from the bones, cartilage, and stretchy connective tissue.

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Use this pile of white and dark meat well, my friend. May I suggest a pot pie? Or maybe a white chicken chili?

 

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For the love of all that’s good, use this guy in your stock. It’s the chicken neck, and it’s got so much good stuff in it! Lots of little bones that will break down and give you energy, wealth, happiness (or, good minerals).

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If you’re squeamish, I’m so sorry! This is the cartilage that I’ve been talking about. It’s the best way I know how to describe the more tough, extremely valuable little parts that you’ll find, when you’re picking through everything. Use these, too!

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After you’ve gotten all the bones into your Crock-Pot, here’s what you’re left with in your roasting pan. Pour this goodness over your bones in the Crock-Pot.

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Kind of a motley crew, huh? But they’re the basis of something very good!

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Cover the bones with water.

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Grab some apple cider vinegar.

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Add a swig.

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This is my favorite way to season my broth: onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and bay leaf.

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However, I had frozen the peelings of some organic potatoes that I had used, earlier that week. Potato skins, when they’re pesticide free, are so, so good for you. Eat your vitamins with me!

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I threw those in, too, and then turned the Crock-Pot to low for about 18 hours.

I wish I had taken some pictures of the final product. It was delicious and hearty, but best of all…I got to SHARE it with people in our life that we love.

Praying for life and love around your table this week, friend.

-Celeste

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