Stock and broth are ridiculously easy to make yourself. Stock and broth are healing foods, full of health benefits for the gut, your joints, and your whole body. They also form the foundation for soups, and add flavor to just about any savory dish.
You can make your stock in a stainless steel stock pot or a slow cooker. We choose based on what meals are coming up. I prefer to make it in the stock pot, because our big one holds 16 quarts, while our biggest crock pot holds a little under 8 quarts. If you are concerned about leaving your stove on overnight, though, the slow cooker will be a better choice!
- Choose whether you will cook the whole bird or just use the bones. We usually roast or oven-fry chickens and then save the bones. We keep a labeled freezer bag, and add carcasses to it. If there are drumsticks or wings left over, when they get eaten, the bones get added to the bag. When the bag is full, it’s time to start some stock!
- If you are going to use the whole bird, remove the giblets from the wrapping and rinse your bird thoroughly. You can use the giblets in the stock. I prefer to save them for dog and cat treats or save the liver for ourselves.
- Put your chicken or bones in the pot. Since chickens run around in the muck all day, if you are using the feet you’ll want scald them, plunge them in cold water, and remove the skin first. Some farmers sell them all ready to go. Chicken feet add amazing flavor to stock, as well as adding nutrition and helping it gel.
- Optional: Wash a couple carrots, a stalk or two of celery, and a bunch of parsley. Peel an onion and chop it in quarters. Get a bay leaf or two. You can add other herbs as well. Add all the vegetables to the pot. This is known as the “mirepoix,” and is the traditional French combination. You don’t have to use whole vegetables. Scraps will do just as well!
Beware of brassicas or starchy vegetables like potatoes, though. They are best added to soup after the stock is already made! You may also wish to salt your stock at this point. We don’t, because we’ll be salting it when we use it in other dishes.
- Cover the contents of your pot with cold, filtered water. A carbon filter will do, but we have a reverse osmosis filter. Berkey filters are a great choice, too! I like to fill the pot as full as I can without worrying about it boiling over. Add a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to help pull calcium from the bones.
- Place your stock pot on the back burner and turn it up to high, or turn your crock pot up to high, and bring the stock to a boil.
- When it starts to boil, turn it down to low or medium low, so that the stock is at a slow simmer, and skim off any foam that forms.
- If you are using the whole chicken, remove the chicken from the pot after about an hour and a half. Pick the poached meat off the chicken with a fork, and refrigerate for later use. (Of course you can eat some with your broth right now if you like). If you leave the meat in the pot too long, it will become dry and not be good for eating.
At this point, the liquid you have is known as “meat stock” in the WAPF/GAPS world. In the culinary world, it is “broth.” It is lower histamine and has fewer free glutamates than what WAPF/GAPS call “bone broth” and chefs call “stock.” If you are just starting out with GAPS, it is a good idea to start with the “meat stock.”
- Strain out the meat stock for drinking, making soups, and cooking with. Alternately, you may leave it in the pot to just make stock.
- Return the carcass to the pot. If you included celery or carrot tops in your mimirepoix, pull them out now so that they won’t make your stock bitter. Cover with filtered water again and simmer for at least 8 hours. You can keep it going up to about 72 hours. If you get hungry in the meantime, it’s fine to ladle out some of the stock for cooking with.
- Strain the stock into another pot, separating the liquid from the bones and mirepoix, and let it cool.
- Skim the fat off the top and reserve for cooking with. This fat is known as schmaltz. It has amazing flavor and is great for sautéing with or roasting vegetables in.
- Freeze, pressure can, or refrigerate your stock in mason jars. (Pressure canning is not GAPS legal). If you are going to freeze your stock, make sure you use jars without a neck.
Of course, potatoes are not allowed on GAPS at all.
Now you’ve got your very own broth and stock on hand! To learn more about the benefits of broth and stock, get Patty’s ebook, Broth: Elixer of Life!