Chicken bone broth has been considered throughout history as a base for traditional healing soups in cultures around the world. The bones and meat from healthy, organic, pasture-raised chickens release an abundant array of powerful micro nutrients, amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals into the water when simmered for hours at a low temperature. The resultant immune-boosting broth is helpful to have on hand especially if someone gets sick and even doesn’t feel like eating, as it is provides a storehouse of readily assimilated nutrition that assists the healing process.
Differences Between Chicken Bone Broth & Chicken Stock
Cooking time and temperature are two important variables in making a great bone broth. The longer the cooking time, the more minerals are pulled out of the bones. The bones may even become quite soft, which some people like to eat. A good bone broth is cooked for 12 – 24 hours. If you don’t have that much time or if you have digestive issues such as leaky gut, you can prepare ]a chicken stock instead. Chicken stock uses the same recipe as the bone broth, but the cooking time is much shorter – only 2-4 hours total.
The temperature also plays a crucial role in the creation of chicken bone broth. Initially, the soup is not heated to a rolling boil, but is heated to only a soft boil and then turned down to simmer. This protects the cartilage and some of the other health-giving components from destructive high heat. Cooking in this way also minimizes the formation of free glutamates in the shorter stock version which people with very sensitive digestive issues avoid. Stock or Broth – Are You Confused? is a helpful article explaining why you might choose to make stock and more information about the medicinal difference between chicken stock and bone broth.
Benefits of Chicken Bone Broth:
- rich in gelatin, which aids in digestion
- contains beneficial amino acids:
- proline – key component in tissue repair
- glycine – aids in liver detoxification
- heals and strengthens connective tissue
- helps you produce hydrochloric acid for proper digestion
- contains collagen, which nourish the skin, joints
- full of vitamins A, D, and K (healing to the intestinal tract)
- full of minerals – especially calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, which are essential for bone health
The Recipe – Chicken Bone Broth
Chicken Bone Broth Ingredients
- 1 whole, organic pastured chicken
- 2-4 free-range chicken feet (optional)*
- 4 quarts water (or more to fill your pot)
- 2 T. lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar per 4 quarts of water
- 4-8 organic peppercorns (more if desired)
- 1-2 t. high quality sea salt 4 onions quartered
- 8 organic carrots – cut in large pieces
- 2-4 organic zucchinis – cut in large pieces
- 6 stalks of organic celery – cut in large pieces
- 4 inches of fresh ginger – grated
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 large bunch of parsley – added 15 minutes before finishing for additional mineral ions
*Chicken feet are the most gelatinous portions of the animal and Jewish tradition considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful medicinal broth
Making the Chicken Bone Broth
(with a modification for chicken stock)
- Put the whole chicken and feet into a large stock pot – glass or stainless steel
- Fill with the water – water should cover chicken by at least 2” and should leave room at the top of the pot to allow for expansion when vegetables are added..
- Add the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (this aids in pulling minerals from the bones) and let sit for 1 hour without heating.
- Bring to a soft boil. Avoid allowing the broth to reach the point of a fast boil. Lower heat to a simmer and skim foam off the top.
- Add all remaining ingredients except the parsley and cook on low heat to slowly simmer.
- Cook, skimming occasionally, for 1-2 hours, or until the chicken is tender enough to pull easily from the bone.
- Use a pair of large tongs and a large ladle to remove the chicken from the pot, holding it over the pot for a few seconds to allow chicken cavity to drain.
- Remove skin and discard. Debone and reserve chicken meat and set aside for eating in other dishes, salads or for use in soup
- Put bones back into the soup.
- Simmer the chicken bones and vegetables for 12 – 24 hours to make bone broth. If you would prefer to make stock instead (shorter cook time), simmer for 1-4 hours.
- Add parsley 15 minutes before the soup is finished.
- Remove and discard chicken bones and chicken feet (if you used them).
- Remove vegetables from broth. Set aside to cool if you plan to use them – see below for instructions *
- Allow chicken bone broth to cool. Use the broth to make Chicken Soup with Bone Broth or freeze for future use.
Using or Freezing Chicken Bone Broth
- To refrigerate: After the broth cools, store it in glass containers in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
- To freeze: Let the broth cool completely to room temperature or refrigerate overnight to prepare the broth for the freezer. Fill a glass container leaving about an inch of room at the top. This extra space allows the broth to expand as it freezes without breaking the container. Lidded Pyrex containers, wide-mouthed mason jars, or other recycled glass jars are great options for storing broth.
- To use: Thaw your bone broth (if frozen) and use for soups or other recipes that call for broth. You can even sip the broth as a warm snack – it’s a great food to drink when you are feeling sick. This broth is the perfect base for Chicken Soup with Bone Broth.
- Money-saving tip: Rather than buying additional veggies for this broth, you can save your vegetable scraps from other meals in your freezer until you make broth. Simply remove them from the freezer and add those to the pot! Examples of vegetable scraps that work well for this recipe include: onion skins, celery, carrot, or zucchini ends, potato skins, or whatever you have on hand. You can store them in a glass container in your freezer until you’re ready to use them. You can also save money by saving the chicken carcass and bones next time you roast a whole chicken. Remove the meat, save the bones in the freezer, and fortify your next broth with extra bones.
* To fully maximize the the nutritional benefit of the ingredients in this chicken bone broth, save your broth vegetables! You can puree the cooked vegetables you use to make broth and drink as you would a soup. I always felt bad when I would throw out the vegetables used to make stock or bone broth. I’ve tried to eat the mushy things, but they just weren’t appealing. Then one day I threw all the vegetables into my blender and added water until it was a nice smooth, thin broth. I heated it, added salt and pepper, and drank it. It was delicious! You can store it in jars in your freezer or fridge – it lasts over a week.