Homemade Chicken & Beef {Bone} Broth Recipe

It’s that time of year again. The seasons begin to change and colds are beginning to make their way into our homes. I recently fell victim to a nice lingering head and chest cold which knocked me out for over a week. Sometimes, you just have to let it run its course and try to take care of yourself as best you can.

One of the things my mom used to make when we were sick was chicken noodle soup. The warm broth always seemed to make me feel better and soup was something I felt like eating when my nose was so full that I couldn’t taste anything. I know this is common among many households today and was also something our grandparents made as well. So why did our mother’s and grandmother’s make us chicken soup when we were sick?

Well for starters, staying hydrated while sick is important and anything that can help to get fluids into your system (such as sipping homemade broth), will help keep you hydrated-especially if you’re not drinking or eating the meals you normally would. Second, when made the “old-fashioned way”, as I will show you below, the bones of either a free-range, organic chicken or grass-fed, organic cow, are simmered in water along with your choice of veggies and spices, which allows for all of the bones’ nutritious vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting benefits to seep out into the water- making a delicious broth that is one of the most nutrient packed things you can eat.

Not only is broth good for when we have a cold, but it can be an important gut (digestive tract) healer and health promoter. The bones from grass-fed, free range or pastured animals contain gelatin, iron, potassium, calcium, Vitamin K and other nutrients essential to our health. Eating bone broth is good for us year-round- even when it’s not soup season!

Homemade bone broth, also referred to as chicken/beef stock or chicken/beef broth, is not only super easy to make, but it’s versatile and makes a great meal for families. Some people get grossed out when I mention that I drink bone broth for breakfast. Yep, I put some broth in my Starbucks cup, heat it up before I leave the house and away I go.

Well, I hate to tell you folks, but bone broth is just like chicken/beef stock that your grandmother used to make. It’s not gross and it tastes delicious- it’s just like eating soup you’d find in the store, but making it yourself from good, quality bones, is better for you. Unfortunately as a society we’ve become accustomed to eating chicken noodle soup out of a can or from a box and anything mentioning bones sort of freaks people out (at least my mom and my co-workers). Now, I’m not saying that all broth out of a box is bad for you. I have a wonderful homemade chicken soup recipe that calls for organic chicken broth, but it’s better to make it yourself because you know where the bones came from and what you’re putting into it. But, I’ve gotta tell ya- this homemade way of making broth is easy and has too many health benefits to pass up.

Another reason I like making bone broth? You’re using more of the animal! I love that when we get the meat off the chicken, we can then use the “leftovers” to make yummy soup for the following week. Call me crazy, but I really enjoy being able to use as much of what I buy as possible. Our parents and grandparents came from a time when they would use the entire animal for food- pigs feet, pork belly, pork rinds and broth. Using the bones allows us to get another healthy dish from what would normally be waste. Use the whole animal when you can.

So, Where Can You Get Bones For Homemade Bone Broth?

We personally like to use a whole chicken carcass after we’ve baked it and stripped the meat from the bones. You can usually find whole, organic, free-range chickens (with the insides removed) at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. If you live here in Bloomington, the Kroger on College Mall Road sells them and so does Bloomingfoods on 3rd street. Once we cook the chicken, we remove all of the meat (and eat it because it’s delicious!) and then use what’s left for the broth. We like to add in whatever vegetables we have lying around- usually carrots, onion and garlic.

For beef bones, I usually pick these up from our local butcher, farmer’s market or I use what’s left after we cook our beef from our CSA share. If you live in Bloomington, I sometimes buy our beef bones from The Butcher’s Block, the Bloomington Farmer’s Market and from our CSA- WE Farms. Most farmers will sell bones separately if you ask for them and butchers always have them in the back of the store- you just have to ask.

Note: Make sure your bones are from an animal that was grass-fed and organic or that came from a local farm where they have sustainable, ethical farming practices. This is important because you will be consuming the nutrients from that animal and you want the bones to be from an animal that lived a healthy life and wasn’t given chemicals, hormones, etc.

So, now that you’re all experts on why you should eat bone broth, read on to see how to make homemade chicken and beef {bone} broth!

Ingredients
For Chicken Broth:
1 whole free-range, organic chicken carcass (meat and insides removed)
1 cup onion loosely chopped
1 cup carrots
1 cup celery loosely chopped
3 Bay leaves
3 cloves garlic loosely chopped
A few Rosemary sprigs
Approx. 16 cups water (or until water covers bones in crock pot)
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For Beef Broth:
2-3 pounds of grass-fed, free-range, organic beef bones
1 cup onion loosely chopped
1 cup carrots
3 Bay leaves
3 cloves garlic loosely chopped
A few parsley sprigs
Approx. 16 cups water (or until water covers bones in crock pot)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours when cooked on low heat
Servings: 6
Difficulty: easy
Directions
First, put chicken carcass or beef bones into crock pot. Add in carrots, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves, herb sprigs and just about anything else you have lying around to season the broth and make it tasty.

Next, add water until it covers the bones in the crock pot. Place lid on crock pot and let simmer on low for 8 hours. We usually leave ours cooking overnight so we have fresh broth for the day.


Lastly, when the broth is cooked, place a pot in the sink and place a strainer over the pot. Gently pour the bone broth into the pot, letting all the bones and veggies fall into the strainer. Note: Be careful! The broth is very hot.

The broth can be eaten this way or if you prefer to strain the fat off the top (like we do), place the pot of broth in the fridge for an hour or more until the fat on rises to the top and hardens. Once it’s hard, you can remove it with a spoon. If you want, you can save this and use it for cooking- just let it dry on a paper towel before storing it.

Ta-da! Homemade bone broth! Do you make homemade bone broth? If you do, what method do you use? I’d love to hear about it below.

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