Prep: 15 min • Cook: 2 hrs • Yield: varies depending on pot size; these ingredients are sufficient for a gallon of broth
- 2 or more pounds raw chicken bones/carcasses (from about 3 or 4 chickens)
- 6 to 8 chicken feet
- One whole chicken and additional wings or thighs, optional
- Enough purified water to just cover the bones when they are in the pot
- ¼ to ½ cup apple cider vinegar, depending on the size of the pot
- 2 to 4 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 stalks organic celery, including leafy part, roughly chopped
- 1 or 2 whole cloves (optional)
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 1 bunch parsley, add in the last hour
Place all the bones in a slow cooker or large stockpot. Add the vinegar and enough purified water to cover everything by 1 inch.
On medium heat, bring the water to a simmer. Use a shallow spoon to carefully skim the film off the top of the broth. Add carrots, celery, and spices and reduce the heat to low. You want the broth to barely simmer. Skim occasionally over the first 2 hours, and be sure the bones are always covered with water. You will have to add water during the cooking process. Simmer for at least 2 hours.
When the broth is done, turn off the cooker or remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs and/or a large slotted spoon remove all the bones and the meat. Save the chicken for use in the broth or for another recipe. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.
Let cool on the counter before refrigerating. You can skim off the fat easily after the broth is chilled if desired. When chilled the broth should be very gelatinous.
The broth will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 or more months in your freezer.
(1) If it’s hard to get chicken bones from your butcher, you may be able to get backs and necks.
(2) The number of pounds of bones will vary based on the size of your slow cooker or stock pot. You want the bones to fill the vessel so you can just cover them with water. If you have chicken bones from any leftover chicken, also add those.
(3) You use chicken feet for the cartilage which is necessary for good broth and the health benefits of gelatin, collagen and calcium.
If you use chicken feet, you need to remove the outer yellow skin if the butcher has not already done so. To do this, immerse in boiling water for about 10 to 20 seconds, and they will peel easily. If you boil them any longer, it’s nearly impossible to peel them because they become rubbery. It’s also easier to peel them before they are frozen. You can cut off the claws if you choose.
(4)The chicken meat is optional, but I usually add it so I have the chicken for soup or another recipe.
If you have favorite herbs, you can add them to the bone broth to enhance the flavor. Thyme is particularly nice with chicken broth. Since you might use the broth in a variety of recipes, I prefer not to salt it while cooking.