“Don’t Chuck the Chicken” Broth

wpid-IMAG0901.jpgThe chicken from Easy Roast Chicken has all been picked over, and now you’re left with bones, goop, yucky meat and mess.  We all know our mom’s chucked this leftover conglomeration, and you’re thinking about that right now, too.  But what did, um, maybe our great-grandmothers do with this junk?

Chicken broth!

Making broth is not neurosurgery.  It isn’t even as complex as second grade addition.  There is no excuse to toss that carcass.  You cannot mess this one up.  Even if you did undercook the chicken.  Don’t be intimidated and think you’re not doing it right.

Take everything left over (meat scraps, bones, carcass, drippings, the liver, neck, and the rest of the giblets, if you saved those–and you should have–maybe next time if you didn’t)…

(I’ll tell on myself here.  Nobody throws away bones in my house without a nasty glare and a “hand spank.”  You say, “But they were eaten on?”  No way.  Put ’em in the pot.  Boiling will take care of any problems there.  Really.  Look it up if you don’t trust me.)wpid-IMAG0896.jpg

…and throw it in a large pot.  For a chicken, I usually add about a gallon of water.  I know this because I have to buy water in gallon jugs since I haven’t figured out which water filter I want yet.  Because you know I don’t like all that chlorine in there, but I don’t like E. coli in my water, either.

Oh, what to do in this life?


“Don’t Chuck the Chicken” Broth


Leftover bones and such from Easy Roast Chicken (or pick up a package of legs, thighs, or a whole chicken from the store)
3/4 to 1 gallon of water
1 onion, sometimes I chop it fine and sometimes I chunk it
1-2 sticks of washed celery, sometimes I chop it and sometimes I just break stalks in half and throw them in
1-2 bay leaves, don’t fret if you don’t have them–just leave them out
1-3 washed carrots, diced, chopped, sliced, whole, whatever works for you
Salt and pepper, optional, and less is best (I don’t add much because I often use broth for soup, and then I end up adding too much salt in the end)
1-2 tablespoonsful of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I often leave this out, but it draws out more minerals.)
1-3 teaspoonsful of parsley, if desired


1.  Place all ingredients in the pot.  You can also do this in a crock pot.  Remember, making chicken broth is not hard.  I’ve made it with just water and a chicken carcass on a hurried day.  It tasted fine.
2.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to simmering.  Keep just at simmering.  Use a lid or don’t.  I do, but I keep it cracked open.
3.  Occasionally skim off foam if there is any.  (Sometimes I forget.)
4.  Cook about 3-4 hours.  You can cook it longer, say 48 hours, if you want bone broth.  Add in parsley if you’d like at the very end of cooking, so it keeps its flavor.
5.  After the broth cools so you won’t burn yourself, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth.
wpid-IMAG0904.jpg6.  I use a fine mesh sieve and large mouth funnel to strain my broth directly into jars.  After the jars cool, I store them in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.  I also freeze them.  Or you can pour the cooled broth in  freezer bag and lay flat and freeze if you don’t want to risk a broken, frozen jar.  There will be fat that rises to the top of jars.  I have changed my mind about fat over the last year, and I keep the fat with the broth.
7.  I pick off any meat and use it in soups, casseroles, or chicken salad, if there’s a lot.  The meat can be frozen.  I eat the carrots.  Finally, I allow myself to chuck the rest of the chicken.

Broth pearls:

1.  Roasted meats/bones give broth a richer flavor.
2.  The amino acids that are rich in this broth are the amino acids used in abundance by your GI tract cells, such as glucosamine.
3.  You save money making both a roasted chicken AND broth out of the same chicken!
4.  Homemade broth has better flavor than store-bought.
5.  Store bought broth “doesn’t count” for the GAPS diet. On introduction, broth with shorter cooking times, about 3 hours, is recommended.  Later, bone broths (cooked for the very long cooking times) can be incorporated.  Longer cooking times draw out more amino acids, magnesium, and calcium.  Sometimes, I’ll break open soft bones after I’ve cooked them and allow the marrow to leach out.  It sounds gross, but it seems like a safer way to get nutrients than Chinese pharmaceuticals.  I’ve read that longer cooking times may increase glutamate production, and so some people will be very sensitive to broths with prolonged cooking time.  Best to start low.
6.  Some people suggest adding a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to help draw out minerals, but my palate could detect the vinegar and didn’t like it.  Still, it’s worth trying to see how you like it!
7.  And finally, I love the taste of chicken broth, but maybe because I pretty much only ate chicken at the beginning of GAPS, it now gives me a headache.  It did not in the beginning.  Go figure.

You may also be interested in learning about why gelatin benefits our health:  Collagen Conversations and Aitura, Racituri, and Aspic


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