Thanks to the traditional food movement, millions of people are re-discovering and re-learning how to prepare simple nutrient-dense foods at home. Without a doubt, homemade stocks (also called broths), like chicken and beef stock are a big part of that trend.
As a Nutritional Therapist, I consider a properly made chicken and beef stock a super food, chock full of nutrients that support a wide range of health issues.
Notice though that I said, “properly made.”
Unfortunately, there are no store-bought stocks that are properly made. They all contain chemical flavorings, even the organic ones, to mimic the flavor of real stocks. And that’s because a real stock is slowly simmered for extended periods which draws out nutrients that support things like bone and joint health, digestive and immune health and even mental health. That slow simmering is also what gives stocks their flavor.
Chicken and beef stock are certainly the two most common types of homemade bone stocks. Once you learn the basics, you’ll have the foundation for an infinite amount of simple stock-based soups.
If you need some inspiration, I’ve created a free downloadable guide, Fearless Eating’s Guide to Stocks and Soups, which contains the info below as well as some simple soup recipes to get you started.
- 1 whole chicken or chicken parts, cut up
- Vegetables, coarsely chopped – 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, 1 medium to large onion
- 1-2 chicken backs and necks, chicken feet, giblets (but not the liver)
- 1 – 2 TBSP Apple cider vinegar
1. Chop veggies and place in stock pot with chicken. Cover with water, add vinegar and let sit for 30-60 minutes. The vinegar aids in leaching the minerals from the bones.
2. Turn stock pot to low and simmer very gently for 12-24 hours. That’s it!
3. Strain broth from bones and veggies.
4. Store in fridge for up to 7 days. Freeze whatever you won’t use within a week.
1. Remove the chicken after 3-5 hours and remove the meat from the bones. It should be well cooked and very tender. Reserve the meat for chicken salad or for a wonderful chicken soup. Return bones to water and continue simmering for 12-24 hours.
2. For a lighter broth, simmer for 2-8 hours.
3. Adding fresh herbs at the end of the simmering imparts additional minerals and flavors. Parsley and thyme are two common additions.
4. You can also do the above with just chicken bones. Save your bones in your freezer until you have enough to make a stock. Add in some additional chicken parts (necks, backs, etc.) if you have them for more depth.
5. When the stock cools, a layer of fat will form on the surface. Despite what every fat-phobic recipe on the internet says, don’t skim it off. It will act as a seal and keep your stock fresher in the fridge for a longer period. When you do break the seal you can either save the fat for use in other recipes (gravies, sautéing, etc.) or dissolve it back into the broth. Dissolving it back is a matter of personal preference. It will make your broth a little heavier. Perhaps wonderful for a cold winter night but not so much for other uses. You can also feed it to your dog who will love you for it!
Beef stock is a little more time intensive as the thicker bones require more exposure to heat to withdraw their nutrients. Meatier bones can also be roasted as they’ll impart a deeper, richer flavor. It’s not totally necessary though and I often skip it.
- About four pounds bones including marrow bones, meaty bones and knuckle bones.
- Vegetables, coarsely chopped – 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, 1 medium to large onion
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup full-bodied red wine like cabernet or zinfandel, optional
- 1-2 TBSPs peppercorns, optional
- 2 bay leaves, optional
- A few sprigs thyme, optional
1. Place non-meaty bones and vegetables in stock pot, cover with water and add vinegar. Let sit for one hour.
2. Roast meaty bones in oven set at 400 degrees tile browned (not charred!) for 15-30 minutes. Add to stock pot. Deglaze the drippings from the roasting pan by adding water or red wine over high heat and scraping with a spatula. Add deglazed drippings to pot.
3. Bring to a boil, skim scum that rises to surface and reduce heat to a very gentle simmer.
4. Add wine, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme.
5. Simmer for at least 12 hours but as long as 72 hours.
6. Remove the bones and strain broth in a fine mesh or cheesecloth-lined colander.
7. Cool and transfer to fridge or freezer.
1. If you can’t get a good variety of bones, that’s OK. Any bones will do. Work with what you have and what you can get. All of them will still impart valuable minerals and nutrients. The great thing about broths is that you can always spice them up after the fact. Some folks even prefer blander broths for that reason. You can even exclude the veggies for all of the above broths as well.
2. You can roast the vegetables with the meaty bones as well.
3. Simmering should be very gentle. Never rapidly boil the bones which can affect the flavor. A good indication of the right temperature is a few bubbles rising to the surface here and there.
4. As with the chicken stock, save the fat that congeals at the surface with cooling!
Some Additional Tips
Many people ask me where they can find good quality bones. Contact your local farmers, your local butcher or even the meat department at your local health food store. So few people value bones anymore that they’ll probably be thrilled to give them to you at a very reasonable price.
Once you find a good source, try to get as many different types of bones and parts of the animal as possible. For example for chicken stock, get some chicken necks, backs and chicken feet. For beef stock, try to get the oxtail and use a combination of meaty bones, knuckle bones and marrow bones. Some of these additional parts are easier to get than other so if you can’t get a good variety, it’s no big deal. And if using chicken feet grosses you out, just skip it!
You can also build up your supply at home by saving bones in your freezer until you have enough to make a stock. And it’s perfectly acceptable to combine bones from different animals. I’ll often throw pork, chicken and beef bones together.
Another tip is to not worry if don’t get much gelatin in your stock. I’ve found it’s easier to get gelatin from beef bones than other bones. In fact, the best piece of advice I ever heard was from Shannon Hayes, farmer and author, who said, “Don’t you dare throw out that stock if it doesn’t gel!”
A Free Guide for How to Make Stocks and Soups
I’ve created a free guide, Fearless Eating’s Guide to Stocks and Soups, that you can print for easy reference. In addition to the info above it also includes:
- a short overview of the health benefits of bone stocks
- how to make bone stocks in 5 simple steps
- recipes for the three basic stocks – chicken, beef and fish
- 3 simple steps to stock-based soups
- simple 3-step recipes for Portuguese kale soup, Thai coconut curry soup, Asian fish soup, potato leek soup and more!
I’ll also be sharing lots more broth-based recipes throughout the winter to help you start making them on a more regular basis. All of these recipes will emphasize making things simple and economical. I’m hoping at some point to turn these recipes into an ebook. By downloading the free guide, you’ll get all the recipes delivered to your inbox. So you won’t have to buy the book!
Recipe Idea: French Onion Soup
Editors note: Click here to Find a Local Farmer
FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD (Limited Offer)
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By J. Davis III
Tags: HEALING | HEALTHY FATS | REMEDIES
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By Richard Neal
Tags: HEALING | REMEDIES | PREVENTION
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By J. Davis III
Tags: HEALING | PREVENTION
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