As we prepare for fall, let’s talk chicken stock!
First of all, let’s clear up the difference between broth and stock. Broth is made by simmering meat only. Stock, however, is made by simmering bones, thereby infusing it with the goodness of the marrow – including all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins – inside those bones. The popular term “bone broth” is a misnomer; it’s the same as stock.
When making daily meals in our kitchen, I confess to using one of the many convenient boxes of organic Kitchen Basics broth that I keep well-stocked in my pantry. But for any meal in which the stock is the star ingredient – like chicken noodle soup or gravy – I insist on using homemade stock. The depth of the flavor profile is so much better than its boxed counterpart!
Chicken stock is also surprisingly good for you. The folk tale about your mom’s good ole chicken noodle soup is valid! A single cup of chicken stock can have up to 10 grams of protein, loaded with many important vitamins and minerals. It’s excellent for immune health, digestion, inflammation, joint health, brain function, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Additionally, our Flu-Fighting Chicken Stock includes the best veggies that boast antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, like ginger, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Every fall, we dedicate an afternoon to making this recipe and stocking our freezer with this liquid gold for the upcoming cold and flu season.
When you’re not feeling well, nothing restore your soul faster than this stock!
Flu-Fighting Chicken Stock
(Original recipe: Everyday Maven)
5 lb organic chicken (with bones and skin)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Water, approx. 20 cups
8 to 10″ lemongrass, sliced in half
3 to 4 shallots, cut in half lengthwise (skin on)
1 head garlic, cut in half across the middle (skin on)
3-4″ ginger root, sliced lengthwise (skin on)
1 bunch scallion (or green onion) whites, cut lengthwise
2-3 TBSP Kosher salt
Begin by cutting the chicken into the standard 9-pieces: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 1 backbone, cut down the middle to expose the marrow in the bones. Don’t let this part intimidate you; here’s a good visual aid if you need help with this. Remember, the point is to break bones open to expose the marrow!
Place the cut up chicken parts in a large stock pot. Cover the chicken with water and apple cider vinegar, let sit for at least 30 minutes while you prep everything else. The vinegar will extract minerals and calcium from the bones to make your stock even more of a nutritional powerhouse!
Meanwhile, prep all your aromatics. Chop scallions, slice shallots, peel ginger, cut garlic. (It feels strange to leave the skins on, but it’s fine. You’ll remove them later.)
Once the chicken has soaked in the water/vinegar mixture for 30 minutes, toss aromatics into the pot. Add salt.
Bring to a boil; skim foam off the top until it subsides. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.
Pull out the 2 breasts and 2 thighs and let them cool. When cool enough, pull off the meat, and return the bones to the pot. Chop and freeze that meat to add to your soup later.
Simmer stock for another 2 hours and 15 minutes (total simmer time: 3 hours). Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Allow your stock to cool. As it’s cooling, remove the chicken parts, and set those aside to cool so you can pick the meat off remaining bones to use for the soup. Strain the rest into another pot, discarding all bits and bones.
Once the liquid is cool, refrigerate the remaining liquid to allow the fat to settle to the top. Gently spoon off the fat and discard it. The rest is your stock.
We typically portion the stock into glass quart jars for freezing, the perfect size for a large bowl of soup when you’re not feeling well. We also recommend freezing pre-portioned chunks of chicken and chopped veggies (celery, carrot, and onion) in separate bags to make creating your soup even easier. Nobody wants to have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when they’re not feeling well.
To make a bowl of soup, simply defrost a jar of broth in a fridge (or cold tap water, if you’re in a hurry). You don’t need the entire thing to defrost; just enough to loosen the frozen contents enough to pour the rest into a sauce pan. Over medium-high heat, bring your broth to a simmer. Cook egg noodles right in the broth, tossing the meat and veggies in at the very end to heat them through. And there you have it: restorative homemade Flu-Fighting Chicken Noodle Soup in less than 20 minutes!
NOTE: If your cooled stock ever appears gelatinous, do not despair. That means it contains a lot of collagen from the bones, and that is a very good thing! Just use as you would liquid stock; it will liquify with heat.