Poultry Broth

Plan to make chicken (or other poulty) broth immediately after roasting a whole bird. I like to roast a chicken for dinner, and as each person cuts the meat off their respective bones, they put the bones back into the roasting pan (casual family dinner). After dinner, remove the roasting pan to the kitchen, and remove all the remaining meat from the carcass. If it was properly roasted, the meat should be sliding off the bones. Refrigerate or freeze the meat separately as an addition to a future soup or casserole.

Place the rest of the carcass and the drippings from the pan into a large crock pot. (Wait, aren’t those drippings just a bunch of fat? No, there’s a lot of good gelatin in there too, and don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to skim the fat off later.) Add enough purified water (3-5 qts) to cover the carcass by 1 inch (you may break up the rib cage to fit in better; a turkey carcass may need to have one half frozen for a second batch). Add 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar; this acidifies the water and causes more leaching of minerals from the bones.

Turn the crock pot on high. After an hour or two, when you notice that the water has heated thoroughly, turn down the crock pot to low, and let slow cook for 24-48 hours. If you see skum form on the top of the broth during cooking, carefully skim away and discard. If you wish, you can add spare ends of vegetables during cooking. . . a carrot end here, extra chopped onions there. This will add richer flavor, but is unnecessary.

When the broth is finished, you should be able to easily crush a chicken drumstick bone with a spoon. Remove chicken carcass with a slotted spoon, and discard. Place a sieve over a funnel fitted into a quart size glass canning jar. Ladle broth through sieve into jar, leaving about 1.5 inches at the top. Continue to fill additional jars until all broth is stored; cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you will notice a hardened white layer at the top in each jar; this is fat, and may be removed with a spoon and discarded. As you remove it, you’ll notice that the broth under it is actually Jello-like in consistency. This is caused by the minerals and gelatin which are suspended in water.

Freeze all the jars of broth which you will not use within the next 2 days. Defrost in the refrigerator 1 day prior to use.

Poultry broth is the basis for innumerable soups, or can be thickened with potato starch or wheat flour to substitute as “cream of chicken soup” in casseroles.

Update January 2013: For the last year I have been using a single lemon, halved as a substitute for the apple cider vinegar, with a more pleasing end flavor.

0 thoughts on “Poultry Broth

  1. I’ve never made my own broth before. Looking at your instructions though, it doesn’t seem like it would be too much trouble to do. Plus, I love that it can be done in the crock pot.

  2. Have a bad viral invasion in my tummy, everything I eat, turns to water….. Hope this will help… Should I strain the broth?

    I have cooked it slowly in a pressure cooker, smells great, can’t wait for the fats to surface…

    thanks for publishing this….

    1. Sorry you’re under the weather! Broth is a good food for illness, stomach or otherwise. It never hurts to take it slow: allow your body to rest (digestion takes a lot of energy which could be used fighting that bug). You could try a tablespoon or so of broth, then if all is well, half an hour later try a 1/4 cup. Listen to what your body is telling you, and be patient.

      Sometimes after an intestinal bug I find it helps me to take some digestive enzymes and/or probiotics…kind of prime the pump again.

      Just some thoughts, and of course I’m not diagnosing or trying to treat you; talk with your Doc for that!

      You mention a pressure cooker…I’ve never made broth under pressure, only in a slow cooker (crock pot). When you’re back on your feet, I’d love to hear back from you how the broth making went, and if the broth is gelatinous after refrigeration? Thanks, and hope you feel better soon,

    2. P.S. You should strain all the bones/big stuff out of the broth. I don’t try to strain out the herbs and tiny pieces that go through my sieve…they’re just food. I suppose for certain uses (gourmet sauces, etc.) stock is best strained, though. ~B

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