Bone broth is something I enjoy making since I prefer to purchase entire chickens when they are available. Purchasing an entire chicken means that you get a week’s worth (even more, if you freeze the broth!) of meals, rather than just one or two nights. I will give you my recipe, assuming that you have already cooked and eaten what is edible from the meat.
- 1-2 whole chicken(s), or other poultry
- Olive Oil
- 1 Star anise
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1-2 Bay Leaves
- 1+ head of garlic (cut in half)
- 1+ yellow onion, cut in half
- Carrots, optional
- Celery, optional
- “Scraps” (Here, I list some ideas of what you can save all week and add to your pot, I try to save and add as much as possible.)
- Garlic skins
- Onion skins
- Ends or remains of carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, scallions, shallots, lemons, oranges, lettuce, cabbage, etc.
- Lemon/orange peels
- Stems of herbs, or entire wilting (or not) herbs
- Leaves of cauliflower (they’re spicy!) or broccoli, and/or their cores
- Carrot tops (or any leafy tops, for that matter)
The first step is to, of course, cook the meat to your preference (I’ll share mine another day). Remove and consume the meat.
- Debone the carcass
- Disjoint the legs, wings, backbone, removing any edible meat that you may have missed. I taught myself how to do this – it’s messy, but I get the job done. Since the bird had time to rest, the joints should easily come apart. Push the entire leg or wing to the opposite direction of its natural movement, until you hear a pop, and then pull it out. Then disjoint the smaller bones in the legs & wings. Do the same for each set of joints in each ligament (I believe 8 total). If you are having trouble and some muscle is still caught, pull the leg/wing away from the carcass, and with a very sharp, large knife, wack the remaining muscle in half. Be careful of your hands.
- Feel free to clean the body of the carcass of any remaining skin, fat, or meat – or further disjoint this – but I leave the carcass intact. It is clean enough from having removed the breast meat to use whole
- Heat your oven. (My oven only goes up to 200C (approx. 400F). This is fine. 250C works, too, to roast more quickly)
- Place the bones and carcass into a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Place the roasting pan into the heated oven. Roast until golden brown.
- Place a stockpot over medium heat. Drizzle plenty of olive oil once heated. Place all of the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir until fragrant and roasting (not too brown, though!), adding the carcass and bones halfway through. Stir for a couple more minutes and then fill with water to the top. Cover the pot.
- I simmer this on the lowest setting for usually a day and a half (of course turning off the stove overnight and removing the pot from the heat!). Once the time is over, I use a sieve to remove the ingredients and smash out the juices.
- You can turn this on a higher heat to serve in a shorter time frame, although I prefer the low-and-slow method for bone broth.
- How to use it and save it:
- Turn into a soup (our favorite for bone broth is a simple vegetable soup, chicken noodle, egg drop, or Austrian Fritattensuppe)
- Drink out of a mug (my preference)
- Freeze portioned out containers
- Freeze small batches (or refrigerate for more immediate use) for adding to rice, polenta, stews, etc.
- I much prefer to make a simple soup or drink from bone broth – it’s flavor, in my opinion, is too good to hide in heavier dishes or soups, but of course, this is up to you.
Some recipes might direct you to pick the bones and carcass clean, removing the fatty skin and meat from the back of the bird, but I have not found a reason to do so. There is a great deal of depth that derives from the remaining skin and meat in combination with the flavor from roasting the bones in olive oil, and you should not miss out.
I do not see why this would not work for a duck, turkey, or even red meat sources such as beef bones, but I have not tried this due to availability and cost in my area, though I’d be willing to use the same method for another variety of meat.
Other recipes might also direct you to rely on whole vegetables – whole onions, whole heads of garlic… This is fine, of course, but I prefer to hoard skins and stems from my week’s cooking adventures and dedicate them to my bone broth. Simply put, I prefer not to waste, since I do not have to. It’s a beautiful way to show how food can come full circle and deliver you this absolute potion of nutrition and flavor.