Friday, May 30, 2014

If you're not making your own chicken stock,



1. It's so good for you.
2. It's super cheap.
3. It's versatile (translated, "I use it to make ham soup and beef stew and you can't tell it's chicken stock").
4. Homemade tastes waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy better than storebought. And you know what's in it.

The health benefits of homemade chicken stock (or "bone broth") are extensive. You can read all about how wonderful it is for you here, here, and here.

See what I did there? No links. That's because if I waste time researching why it's so great for you, I'll never post this dumb thing. My box is full of unpublished drafts that only needed "some links."

Trust me - bone broth is good for you. I read about it somewhere. At some point.

But the reason you should be making it is - it's so darn cheap. I mean really. I was shopping today and noticed that a quart of chicken stock is $2.69. That's just regular Swanson stock. I didn't price out organic options. (I'm not talking about broth here. Storebought broth is yuck, and I say that without judgment because I've bought it in the past. But seriously, if you're making soup with storebought broth (not stock), you might as well use bouillon cubes.)

Making this stuff could not be easier.

Every time you make and eat chicken, save the bones. If you are tacky like me, you can even serve chicken to your family when they all come over for a get-together and then you can ask them to put their bones in a bowl. Cooked bones, raw bones, spine bones, thigh bones, wings, necks, drumsticks, doesn't matter.

Get yourself a big Ziploc bag and freeze those bones. You can even label the bag if you're feeling fancy. Bonus points if you come up with a funny title.

See what I did there? I did not waste time suggesting funny titles to you.

Every time you chop an onion, throw the onion peels and the root ends into the Bone Bag.
Every time you chop celery, put the trimmings into the Bone Bag.
Every time you find a quarter of a bag of baby carrots that you forgot was stowed in the bottom of your produce drawer, and you find they're getting a little unpleasantly slick - not rotten, just maybe not fresh - put them into the Bone Bag. Or if you use big carrots for things, put the peels and the roots in the Bone Bag.

But you know what? If all you have are the bones, that's cool. Just don't put weird stuff in there, like cabbage or broccoli. Stick with the onion-celery-carrot trio. (Yes, tonight I am all about time efficiency. Didn't Google what that trio is called in French. It has a name. You can look it up if you want to.)

When over time, the Bone Bag becomes full of bones and vegetable trimmings, dump it into the biggest pot you have, fill it with water, add a little bit of apple cider vinegar (I've read this helps extract the gelatin from the bones), and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for the rest of the day.

Here you're about to (probably) decide you never want to eat at my house again. That's ok. Anyway, what I'm going to say is, most days I'm not up for straining stock after dinner kitchen cleanup is done. So when I go to bed, I turn off the pot and let it sit there. Yup. All night long.

Then in the morning, I bring it back to a boil, let it cook another hour or two, and then turn it off.

Let cool.

Strain. I use a cloth on top of a strainer.

Pour into old yogurt containers, Ziploc bags, or fancy glass jars. Label. Freeze.

This stuff seriously makes THE BEST SOUPS.

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