It was pretty much a cuteness overload when all 6 cousins changed into their matching jammies on Sunday night. And it was even cuter when the 5 of them that are old enough to walk ran outside to see how their jammies glow in the dark. And it’s crazy to think that this was the scene just a mere 6 years ago . . . Like I said, it’s going to be a sad day when the kids get too old for this . . .
But, the holiday is over now, the leftovers are starting to get stale, and it’s time to do something about the two enormous chicken carcasses that are taking up space in my fridge. Well, really, there’s only one carcass left – I got to work with the first one last night. Specifically, I’m making bone broth. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, and it’s pretty much a staple in our house. In the past, I have roasted a chicken every Monday night for dinner and then got the broth going right after dinner’s cleaned up. This year, the little one’s dance schedule doesn’t give me enough time to get home to roast a chicken, so I’ve been making it more on an ad-hoc basis. Regardless, I always have lots at the ready. Why do I use it for??? I make lots of soups. I’ve posted the recipe for the sweet potato one, I’ll post a cauliflower/apple one soon . . . I make quinoa with it every week (I add qinoa to the salad I eat for lunch every day). And the Husband and I will also just drink it straight.
My first attempt at chicken stock was using the Smitten Kitchen recipe. I am pretty much obsessed with her recipes and if I need something non-paleo to make, I usually turn to her site. Her cookbook is pretty awesome too. But I digress. This stock is amazing. However, as I started making stock/broth/soup on a far more regular basis, the idea of constantly going to the butcher for chicken wings became less appealing, and frankly it seemed much more economical to just roast a chicken and use the bones from that. So that’s what I do now. After we’re done dinner, I take most of the chicken off the bones, use my hands to break up the backbone or other larger bones, throw it all in the crockpot, cover the bones with cold water, add in a tablespoon or 2 of cider vinegar, and then let it sit on low for a good 24hours.
Once the stock is done, let it cool, then strain it into a bowl – through a large sampling of trial and error, I have found the BEST way to do this is to place your bowl with the strainer in it in the sink. That way, any soup that spills goes straight down the drain and you don’t end up cleaning it off the counter, cupboards, kitchen floor (like I said, lots of trial and error). You can also use tongs to get all the larger bones out of the broth before you run it through the strainer.
I usually then store it in 2cup quantities (you can use mason jars – just make sure there’s lots of room left at the top for expansion if you’re going to put the jars in the freezer – or tupperware containers – I LOVE the new ziplock containers – they are all square and stack really well – BUT, I am NOT a fan of putting anything remotely hot into a plastic container, nor do I heat anything in a plastic container. So, I make sure the broth has come to room temperature before I put it into containers). I find this is the perfect quantity for storage purposes – you need 2 cups if you’re going to make a box of quinoa . . . but also, it’s an easy amount to scale up if you need broth for a soup.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can absolutely do this on the stove – you can just simmer it on the stove for 4-5 hours.
I know this seems like a bit of a process just to get broth (’cause hey, you can get broth at the grocery store. In convenient tetra paks. And you can even get organic broth now). BUT, if you really want to be convinced of the benefits of this magical broth, just google “health benefits bone broth”. And I’m sure you’ll be making it at some point this week too!