Whether you want to make this from scratch or use boxed broth, I’ll give you everything you need here to get the best flavor out of your ingredients while getting the most bang for your buck.
Cold and flu season is upon us and as I learned in my Cuisines of the Mediterranean class at the Culinary Institute of America, chicken soup is our Italian Penicillin. Don’t get Chef started on Colatura di Alici (if you know you know). Chicken soup isn’t just a great memory from childhood if you were lucky enough. When you properly cook your broth to gently coax all of the collagen out of the bones of a well cared for pastured raised chicken you will have the liquid gold that is great for your joints and will heal your gut lining. Your gut lining is a vital piece of your immune system puzzle that we should be caring for thoughtfully for our best health.
When I was taking the Nutrition Certification classes from Food Matters, the gut section was the most fascinating. The gut microbiome, with all the bacteria and microbe friends in there, weighs up to 5lbs! That is why it is important to focus on prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to care for that surprisingly large system keeping us healthy!
At the first sight of cold and flu in our house, the stock goes into production. Some things to consider for chicken broth…
– Get the best quality chicken you can afford. Quality matters, but don’t skip making homemade broth just because you can’t afford a local pasture raised bird. Look at your options: sometimes you can get an organic “griller pack” for less per pound than a (not organic) whole chicken.
– Whenever you are making chicken save the bones in the freezer. That way after 3-4 roasted chicken dinners you will be able to make an amazing, healing batch of chicken bone broth without having to buy anything new.
– Same goes for your veggies. Things you can save well wrapped in the freezer for your stock: mushroom stems, leek tops, fennel tops, parsley stems, as well as onion, carrot and celery scraps. If it is aromatic, save the scrap. It is better used in your stock than in your compost. Certainly better than throwing it in the garbage!
-Freeze your leftover stock! Stock freezes very well. You can make a big batch when you have the time and the freezer stock of ingredients. Then just pull it out as needed throughout the season! This is a great option if you are cooking for one or two people or for a large family.
-Make sure to properly cool your stock. When it is completed, fill the small side of your sink or any container that is just bigger than your pot with ice/water and place the pot on top of the ice. Stir occasionally until you get the temperature down to 40*F, then refrigerate or freeze. You want to move quickly through the “temperature danger zone” of 41*-140*.
-No shame in boxed broth. Sometimes we just don’t have time for homemade, thank goodness for the supply chain. Again, get the best you can afford, preferably organic, low sodium chicken broth. Bone broth is crazy expensive which is why we never throw away bones in this house.
-If you have a slow cooker, now would be a good time to use it. However, it is totally not necessary. Use your biggest sauce pot.
For the whole recipe follow from here. If you are using frozen broth, boxed broth or already have your broth prepped, move down to the soup portion of the recipe.
Bone Broth Recipe (makes about 6-8qt.)
Large stock pot or slow cooker (I use a 12qt. stock pot with built in strainer)
4lb. chicken, on the bone. Cut into large pieces. (If making bone broth w/o a need for the meat, use 3lb of chicken bones.)
1T apple cider vinegar
8qt cold water
2lb. veggie scraps (Here I had mushroom stems, leek/fennel tops, 1 small onion, a few carrots and celery stalks.)
Aromatics- parsley stems, 2 bay leaves, 1tsp. peppercorns, 3 stems fresh thyme, 2 garlic cloves.*
1. In the large pot place the raw chicken, cover with cold water/pour water out to rinse if desired. Then re-cover with cold water and add the apple cider vinegar. In the 12qt. pot I use 8qt. water. Bring to a boil then let simmer gently for 10-11 hours* partially covered (fully covered if using slow cooker). Add hot water as needed when the water level goes down. If using the meat from the chicken, remove after 1 hour of simmering. Save the meat and place the bones back into the water.
2. When there is one hour left in your cooking, place in all veggies and aromatics and continue simmer.
3. Strain and use right away or cool quickly in the pot over ice to store.
This bone broth recipe is a whole meal on its own. You can use it for sipping, especially if you feel a cold coming on. You can also use it as a base for so many other soups/sauces. One of my favorites is tortellini en brodo. Whether you make your own tortellini or find a great pre-made version, just heat them right in the broth and it is an incredible lunch or dinner.
Classic Chicken Soup Recipe (makes about 8 servings)
6qt stock pot
Ladle/strainer (If pulling broth straight from your broth pot.)
2T extra virgin olive oil
4 small carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced (If fennel is not in season, just use a larger onion.)
2 cloves garlic, diced
4-5qt. chicken broth
2-3c chicken, shredded or cubed
Himalayan or kosher salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2lb pasta or 2c cooked rice
1. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the carrots, celery, onion and fennel. Season with 1t salt and cook to translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.
2. Add the broth and the chicken and bring to boil, then simmer. If you are using pasta you can add it now, cook it to al dente and serve. If you are adding pre-cooked rice, just add and bring to simmer. Enjoy!
If you would like to add noodles or rice, you can cook the noodles right in the pot or throw in already cooked rice. I added 1/2lb. fusilli.
It is so quick, easy and delicious. It is wild that it is also incredibly healthy. I hope you make this for your family and have a healthy and productive season!
*You could add an inch of ginger or turmeric root here as well if you have that on hand. If using turmeric don’t forget to add black pepper as it enhances the absorption of the curcumin in your body exponentially.
*In a pinch you can cut this time down to 3-4 hours, you will get great flavor still, but the full benefits from the bones come with the longer cooking. Some times if needed I will take out what I need earlier and just continue cooking the remainder.