The benefits of broth have been known for many many centuries… everyone knows you should eat chicken soup when you have a cold or the flu, but why?

because it tastes awesome…

well yes, but also because

bone broth is amazing!

The gelatine, the minerals and the gut healing properties is just the start of this meaty deliciousness, and then there are all the nutritious things you can put in to add flavour and medicinal properties… and then the recipes… oh the recipes!!! You can of course drink it straight, but you can also turn it into soups, rissottos, fried rice, sauces and add it all sorts of other things.

I predominantly use chicken carcasses, sometimes a whole chook or with added wings, to make my broth. I have used beef and lamb bones as well but as a family we prefer the flavour of chicken. My kids especially love this broth and anything i make from it. My son even asks for it when he is unwell and drinks it plain from a cup.

It is cheap. It is easy. And it can form the basis of many frugal and “meat-free” meals to get you through the week.If you haven’t delved into making your own stock or broth then this weather should give you the extra push that you need to give a go.

To get the best nutrients and healing benefits from your broth you should try and buy the best quality chicken you can afford. I know organic is pricey but we get ours from a local organic farmer that does wholesale prices for a $400 order and we purchase as a co-op (lots of people buy together) and we have a monthly order. Seriously, organic chicken carcasses are $2 each and i can get 2 (or sometimes 3) batches of stock from one carcass.

Simailarly, whole organic chickens are about $25 each, which i admit seems expensive, but from one good sized chook i can get 2 meat meals and 2 broth meals – thats 4 meals for a 4 person family for $25… now i know that’s cheaper than what most people spend on meat. And for the record, our organic meat budget for the month is roughly $100. During summer if we’re having guests or lots of bbq’s then it needs a top up, but just for the 4 of us, being frugal, we can do $100 for organic beef, lamb and chicken. I think that’s pretty good! If you can’t afford organic then just do the best you can. You can pick up a free range whole chicken from ALDI for about $10-$12 and if you can get 2 or 3 meals out of it then you’re doing well 🙂

Back in the old days we would roast a chicken and eat the whole thing, for dinner and then maybe a couple of sandwiches – and then we would do the unspeakable and throw away the bones and leftover bits! At that point in my life i could not fathom spending $25 on 1 chicken. I have been there… but now we eat differently. What we eat is more expensive, but how we eat it makes it more affordable… but i am not here to preach, you eat what you eat and if you want to make changes you can.

Now there is some contention about what is broth and what is stock – to be really honest, i don’t give a crap. I use them interchangeably. I *think* stock is just meat, bones and water and therefore broth occurs if you add any flavourings. So i guess officially mine is broth, but seriously, i don’t care… lets get to the recipe!

 

Whole Chicken Broth

1 whole organic chicken (or the best you can get) OR 1 chicken carcass

2-4 cloves garlic

splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach minerals from the bones and you can’t taste it)

Enough cold water to cover the chicken.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (i use half and then as i am turning my stock into soup or whatever i can adjust with other flavours)

**Optional – carrots, celery, onion, cloves, bay, turmeric, ginger etc etc etc… the possibilitites are endless (i personally do not flavour my stock, if i want to add veggies i do it at the soup stage or when i am turning it into a meal. This broth is so flavoursome from the chicken it doesn’t need veggies!)

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and turn on high, then once its hot turn down low. If you are using a whole chook then remove it after 4-6hrs. Remove all meat from bones and pop in the fridge to use later. Place all the left overs (bones, skin – EVERYTHING!) back in the pot. I use the meat in stir fries, curries, frittatas, pizza, salad or with veggies… anything!

After 6-12 hrs you have a delicious meat stock to use for soup. Clear soups or blended soups, both work beautifully. Honestly this is the most flavoursome of all the broths so use this in its most purest form if you can. You can let it cool in the fridge and scrape of the fat but we don’t, we eat the whole lot. If you are going to scrape off the fat then at least use it to cook with, if it’s an organic chook then it has beautiful omega 3’s and it is actually good for you!

Top up the slow cooker pot and give it another 6-12hrs. This broth will still be beautifully flavoursome. I use this for making rissotto or for cooking my rice in the rice cooker to make fried rice with. It still makes a great soup & sauces though, so do whatever you like with it.

At this point, if i can bothered i might fill up the pot and go again – but this stock will be quite mild. You can boil it down to enhance flavour and freeze in cubes to make sauce, gravy or add a little flavour to curries or stir fry.

NOTE: If you prefer roast chicken then please, roast it first and remove the meat. Just be sure to save ALL the leftovers for the stock pot. Roast chicken stock is amazing!!!

NOTE: Use the same method for lamb and beef bones, but be sure to brown them in the oven first otherwise the flavour is not very good.

Please understand that this not exact recipe. Use the ingredients and extras YOU like and cook for your own preferred amount time. After 4 hrs your chicken is absolutely cooked so you don’t need to worry about poisoning yourself… after that it’s purely a matter of preference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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