Hello hungry, happy hearts!
Flu/cold season is here. A day doesn’t go by that I’m not reading about one of my peeps falling down to a mean bug of some sort. Ugh! I hate being sick!!! So let’s talk about one of the most healing foods you can ever eat:
Chicken Bone Broth!
Why is chicken bone broth so healing? Well for starters, it’s chockful of helpful, healing proteins like collagen and gelatin. These help your intestines, skin, and joint health.
Your intestines are Super Important for your immune system, so if you keep your gut healthy, it will help you stay healthy and fight illness and injury better. Which is wonderful and amazing!!! Plus, who doesn’t love glowing, healthy skin, and joints that move?
Additionally, if you add salt to your broth while cooking and/or to taste afterwards, the salt and the hydration provided by the bone broth will help maintain and restore your electrolytic balance, which can get wonky when you’re sick. Have you ever had achy muscles and spasms while sick? That’s often your body telling you your electrolytes are wonky, or that you are dehydrated. I used to drink sports drinks to help, but they’re filled with sugars and artificial colorings. Bone broth is a healthier choice!!!
Also, the hydration helps heal damaged membranes, and SUPER BIG TIME, the hydration helps you flush the bug out!!! YES, PLEASE!!!
The warm broth and salt can help soothe a sore throat, too. Also, I add table pepper while cooking, and to taste at the table. This helps loosen congestion big time. I love this for helping with my allergies, too. I gobble my soup and keep the tissues handy. I love when I can breathe freely again!
So with that, I just want to add … don’t think bone broth is just for kicking bugs to the curb.
It’s SO MUCH MORE!
Bone broth is a super anti-inflammatory, healing food. When you need to heal from illness, injury, stress, life, etc., bone broth is my go-to and at the top of my healing list along with blueberries, walnuts, broccoli, and sustainably, wild-caught salmon. Help your body heal, so you can feel better faster!!!
Let’s talk recipe!
My bone-brothing method of choice: the slow cooker. I love tossing everything into the pot, and letting it do it’s thing.
My recipe will take you veggie prep time + 12 hours of cooking time + rapid cooling time, and an overnight chill.
Here’s what you’ll need: (I have an 8 qt slow cooker, but I’ve also used a 3 qt. I’m going to put the quantities for the 3 qt cooker in (parentheses), so you can still make it easily if you’re going small batch.)
- (2 lbs) 4 lbs chicken wings
- (3) 5 carrots
- (3) 5 celery sticks
- (1/2 – 1) 1 medium/large onion
- (1 ½) 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
Here’s what you do: See pictures below for fun, happy visuals!
- Clean and prep your veggies however you like. Some folks I know rinse and toss them in whole, skins and all. That’s not me. I’m a peel-my-carrots, cut-off-the-tops-of-my-carrots-and-celery, and peel-off-the-outer-skin-layer-to-my-onions kind of girl. You do you, and it will work out just fine!
- Layer your chicken wings into the bottom of your pot.
- Add in veggies.
- Fill with water (for the big pot, that’s about 18 – 20 cups of water. Can’t remember the small pot. Maybe 8 – 10 cups?).
- Add in apple cider vinegar!!! If this sounds wonky, it’s not. It’s IMPORTANT!!! You’ll never taste it in the end – trust me. I have the most sensitive taste buds you can imagine, and I can’t taste it. I’m the kid who’ll turn up her nose at chocolate cake made with sour cream, cuz I can taste it … blehcky. So I promise you. You won’t taste the apple cider vinegar. But it’s necessary to help extract all that healing bone protein goodness!!! So DO IT!!!
- Shake in some salt and pepper. I add a couple of shakes to start here in the cooking process, but leave the real seasoning for at the table. That way peeps can control their salt intake better. Plus, some days I like more salt and pepper to taste, and other days, I go mild. I like having eating-time options.
- Cover with the lid. Turn the heat on high until it comes to a simmer. Turn heat to low. Cook for 12 hours!
- Scoop out chunks and pour through strainer into big bowl.
- Cool using an ice bath. Takes about 10 minutes. This step is a safety step. When I was researching bone broth recipes, I learned lots. And chefs are particularly dedicated to safe handling. They encourage using an ice bath to rapidly bring down the temp of the broth, preventing bacterial growth that can happen during slow cooling. Also, putting simmering hot soup straight into your fridge or freezer to cool, raises the temp inside your fridge or freezer significantly and can affect your other foods. So, again. You do you. If you have a soup making cooling method you love … go with it! Whatever works for you! I do the ice bath to especially not have to put the hot soup right into my fridge.
- Remove from ice bath, then Cover and place into your fridge overnight.
- Gently scrape off excess fat. You will reveal the gelatinous, happy, healthy, healing bone broth goodness!!!!
- You can now heat up your portion and salt, pepper, and season to taste … and devour!!! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE adding thyme to my soup! It’s my favorite, and I think it makes the most delicious broth. If you want to give it a try, I usually add a few good shakes to my bowl after I heat it up, and then I devour it!!! Thyme also has wonderful healing benefits – so added tasty, healing bonus!
Okay. So. From the gelatinous state, you can totally heat, sip, and devour your chicken bone broth as is. Orrrrrrrrrrr, if you like, you can turn it into chicken/veggie bone broth soup! This is what I do almost every time!
You can add whatever you want: baked/boiled chicken chunks, veggies, noodles, rice, herbs, etc. I will say this, though, the closer you stick to broth, veggies, and herbs, the more you maintain the anti-inflammatory nature of the soup. Adding in chicken, rice, and/or noodles would minimize that effect a bit. For instance, all rice – organic, brown, wild, … all – has arsenic in it. There are tolerable limits for arsenic in your weekly diet (usually no more than 2 servings of rice per week), but if you are using the bone broth for its healing qualities, you may want to consider NOT adding in foods that diminish its awesome power.
At this stage for me, I’m definitely an “I eyeball it” kinda girl. For my big pot of stock, I usually add:
- 3 cleaned, trimmed, peeled, and sliced carrots
- 3 cleaned, trimmed, and sliced celery sticks
- ½ – ¾ diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon of the chicken fat I removed earlier (you can use a veggie oil if you prefer)
- Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste, at the table
Here’s what I do:
- I gently cook/soften the veggies in the chicken fat; over low-medium heat; for about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add in the gelatinous bone broth, 1 cup measuring scoop at a time. (There is usually a layer of fine particulate “sludge” at the bottom of the pan, which I do not use. It looks sludgy to me, and that gets my nose rolled up at it … I wash it down the drain. You can decide for yourself what you want to do with it. Use it or toss it.)
- Bring to simmer. Cook for about 30 – 40 minutes.
- Portion and serve. Add salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. YUMMO!!!
- At this time, I usually portion all remaining soup into lidded, glass, individual-serving-size freezer bowls. And then I put all these extra servings in the freezer, making them quick gets for any time I want or need some YUMMO soup and healing power!!!
Now that you are empowered to make your very own chicken bone broth, let’s talk about some thoughts and considerations that might be important to you:
- Given that you are making bone broth in which you intend to cook down to the bone and extract the healthy goodness, it is advisable to use the best quality ingredients to fully enhance and ensure healthy goodness. Consider organic, free-range chicken and organic veggies, apple cider vinegar, pepper, and herbs. If ever there was a time to cook pesticide-, added hormones-, and antibiotic-free, this is it. Cooking down to the bone pulls these contaminants out even more, and that’s not in your best health interest. I have calculated my cost (using entirely organic and free-range ingredients) at $1 – $2 a serving (depending on how big of a bowl I want!!! Sometimes I eat a double serving, cuz it’s that good!!!) Even at $2 a bowl, this is not a lot to spend on healthy goodness (especially when you think of what you pay for a serving of fast food these days).
- If you prefer adding in herbs or other veggies earlier on (things like bay leaves, garlic, leeks, etc., for instance), go for it! It’s your soup. Make it yours!!! For me, I like the delicious flavor of a simple broth enhanced with some thyme, salt, and pepper. That’s me. What do your taste buds want? Do that!!!
- A 12 hour cook time is actually on the shorter end of cooking time for bone broths. My research found that you can actually cook chicken bone broth up to 72 hours. Duuuuuude! Like I’m gonna wait that long! LOL. Actually, there’s 2 real notes here. One, the longer you cook your broth, the more gelatinous goodness you will extract. This can definitely be a good thing!!! Two, if you cook your veggies longer than 12 hours, they will get bitter and mess with the flavoring of your broth. If you plan to cook longer than 12 hours, you can either try scooping out just the veggies (sounds miserable in even trying) or you could bind them in a cooking cheesecloth bag or something for easy extraction. Just know that if you desire to cook your broth longer to get more of the gelatinous protein healing goodness, you will want an action plan for getting the veggies out after 12 hours to avoid having the soup get bitter with the veggies.
- I saw some recipes in which peeps blended up the cooked veggies to “add nutritional value and extra thickness” to the broth. I’ll leave this one up to you. What I can tell you is that after cooking the veggies for 12 hours, I tasted them to see if they were still “usable” and yummy. My answer is a resounding NO – they’re yucky!!! After 12 hours of cooking, I feel they have been used of all their goodness and are ready to be disposed of. To me, if you want to add new, fresh veggies for new nutritious and yummy goodness, that’s the way to make delicious soup from the broth.
- A quick ice bath cautionary: when you fill up your sink or a tub with ice and water to make your ice bath, please note, that when you put your broth/pan into the ice bath, it might have buoyancy. Be prepared to hold it steady or have some help. It would totally suck to spill your broth into your ice bath after all that cooking.
And that should do it! You are bone brothing ready!!! Get in there and make yourself some happy, healthy, healing goodness to warm you and delight your taste buds!!! And heal you right on up!!!
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