Nourishing Chicken Stock
With a good stock, soups are nearly complete! Feel free to change out the vegetables based on what’s available in your fridge, but steer clear of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, they will cause stock to taste bitter. Always bring a stock to a boil uncovered to allow any impurities in the ingredients to foam to the surface. After skimming the foam with a large, flat spoon, stock can be covered for the remaining simmer, which retains moisture and allows the stock to bubble away for hours without the fear of running out of water.
For more detailed information on the wonders of bone broths, I suggest the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.
5 quarts (4.5 L) cold water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 pounds (908 g) bone-in chicken, any cut or size
4 chicken feet, optional
2 cups (240 g) carrots cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
3 cups (300 g) celery cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces, leaves left on
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
8 sprigs parsley
- In a large-size pot, combine the cold water, apple cider vinegar, chicken, and chicken feet, if using. Allow the chicken to soak in the vinegar water for 1 hour, drawing additional calcium from the bones.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat, uncovered. A foamy scum may develop on the surface of the stock once a rolling boil is reached. Skim this and discard. The foam is natural coagulated lipoprotein. It’s not harmful but it isn’t pretty either and may cloud the stock.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, to the pot (this will be added at the very end of cooking).
- Cover, reduce heat to low, maintaining a gentle simmer. It’s important to keep the pot covered, as this allows the stock to bubble away for hours without fear of the liquid evaporating.
- Simmer for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, depending on how much time you have, adjusting the heat up or down as needed. A long cooking time allows more digestion-enhancing gelatin to be released from the bones into the stock and enhances its flavor. If you have time for a 24-hour stock, occasionally check the stock and, if necessary, add more water to ensure the meat is covered.
- Ten minutes before removing the stock from the heat, add the parsley. Once done, remove from the heat and cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes
- Strain stock using a chinois* or large strainer.
- Stock may be used immediately. However, when fully cooled in the refrigerator, any fat will rise to the surface and congeal. Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop off the fat and set aside for reuse (it’s great for sautéing vegetables or frying eggs). This step allows the cook to control the amount of fat in the final dish.
*A chinois is the Rolls Royce of kitchen strainers. Its long handle and fine mesh make straining something such as bone broth simple and efficient. When the stock is passed through the chinois only one time, it becomes clear and perfectly strained. Because a common kitchen strainer has much larger holes than a chinois, many passes and usually cheesecloth are required to reach a comparable result.
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