Bone Broth: the chicken incident

Bone broth has crept up on me as the years have gone by.
I never really gravitated towards it in my younger cooking days.

Which was weird because my crock pot was in use ALL the time and there were always chicken carcasses and veggies in my life.

I guess the whole bone broth thing always seemed high effort – little reward.

Best way to explain my cooking style was either super complicated with many moving parts even days required or a one pot / slow cooker walk away deal.

Bone broth didn’t fit into either of my personalities.

After hosting a few family Thanksgiving and Christmas events I began to revisit this thing that is the bone broth.

Never being one for waste, and seeing the turkey carcass about to be thrown out I became filled with an urgency to find some way to use it.

Sadly many a carcass was scuttled before I allowed bone broth into my life.

Remember cutting recipes out of the newspaper?

One day I found it.

A recipe in the Life section (omg I might as well say rock carving).
It was for Wild Rice Turkey Soup and it brought me into the bone broth fan club.

This bone broth was cleverly hidden out in the open as one of the steps in the recipe so I fell for it.
It was a 3 day event with many levels of prep required and to me that screamed ‘worthy recipe’.

Cut out from the Toronto Star newspaper

Made it once and I was hooked. thank you Toronto Star newspaper and Fran McCullogh, Molly Stevens and Kathy Jenkins for publishing this recipe.
Who knew it would grace my table so many times over the years and become one of my most cherished recipes for 30+ years!

Childhood memories of bone broth simmering away on the stove came rushing back and they felt good.

Before the ‘chicken incident’.

Than there was that one time, in the kitchen

Except for that one time I decided to give it a stir.

Bringing the ladle up out of the broth to peruse the contents and waft in some good vibes, there it was.

A whole chicken foot breaking through the surface.

That was not a good day for me, or my mother who had to deal with the drama that ensued.

Fast forward to my 30’s and onward.
I love bone broth.
I throw it in the crock pot the same day as I liberate it from the meat.
Or if you want you can freeze it to do later.

It’s second nature now.

Carcass hangs out in the slow cooker while I go through my veggie stores looking at the back of the fridge drawer for the forgotten ones or the ones that are a wee bit wrinkly and have lost their chance to enter the salad arena.

These are my bone broth veg go-to’s (that is, I grab for them every time):
carrots
onions
leeks
garlic
dill
parsley
mushrooms
celery
bell peppers

Any or all of the above rough cut and into the slow cooker.
Add water to just cover everything, a tbsp apple cider vinegar, tsp salt, peppercorns, turmeric and lock it down.
Low and slow for 24 hrs. My new slow cooker hates me and boils on low so I only do 24 hrs, you can always go longer if your slow cooker will simmer.
Before you turn off the slow cooker check the bones in the broth – they should be brittle, that means you got all the good stuff out and it is officially a bone broth not just a chicken broth (or whatever meat you’re using.

Smells like coming home

Yes you will dream about eating and probably wake up thinking of Mom or Grandma as you make your way to the kitchen.
It’s like walking into a haze of homeyness.
Someone should make a candle for college students.

The basics

Bottom line though, you really only need the carcass, water, onions, carrots and celery for the base and it’ll be amazing. You can even just do a vegetable broth, omit the carcass and cut cook time down to 8 hrs.
Also salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, everything else is just bringing your A game.

Once you’re ready to turn it off, just strain it, and store in mason jars in the fridge, or freeze in those big silicone ice cube trays for adding that flavour boost to soups, rice, couscous or sauces.

All that simmered goodness.
This is pure gold here!

Is it a magical healing elixir?

Not really.
Most of the nutrients of these vegetables do dissipate at high temperatures but some just move out of the veg/bone and into the broth.
Best nutritiously maintaining vegetables for long cooking times are mushrooms, red peppers and carrots.

So why bother?

This all natural and amazing creation is great on it’s own in a mug or as a flavour boost.
Sip on it throughout the day as a snack, or prepare as a hearty soup with little effort.

The bottom line

The real bang for the buck is 2 fold here.

1. You’re transforming food you were going to throw away into a high quality multi purpose ingredient of it’s own. It’s kind of a rags to riches, Cinderelly.

2. You’re creating a healthy original broth that you know is filled with nourishing goodness.

Want proof that your time doing this is worth it? Just check out the ingredient labels on the cartons of broth at the supermarket and compare with what you put in your version.
It’s like this, round one in this corner…
And then your wilty vegetables and chicken carcass basically throat punch boxed store bought varieties.
And the winner is! YOU.

Fresh, vibrant and nourishing broth made by you.
Doesn’t get better than that.

No I love YOU more!

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