Homemade meat stocks are a traditional food that not only add flavor to meals but also add significant nutritional punch. For centuries chicken stock, a.k.a. Jewish Penicillin, has been served to the ill. Unfortunately, these days most Americans purchase boneless cuts of meats and have lost the skill of creating this healing liquid.
Properly prepared stock contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, gelatin and electrolytes. The stock is gentle on the stomach and the nutrients are easily absorbed. Homemade stock is the cornerstone to the GAPS Diet, a diet designed for natural digestive healing. According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, “Meat and fish stocks provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut.” It’s no wonder that stock has been recommended for cold, flu and just about whatever ails you for centuries.
While I am sure foodies could argue over the proper way to make stock, in my opinion you can be creative and use what you have on hand. Stock can be made with a whole chicken or leftover bones. It can be made with fresh vegetables or vegetable scraps. Get in the habit of throwing all leftover bones and veggie scraps in the freezer. When you are ready to make stock, just dump them in the pot!
Good stock should gel when cooled. According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, “Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results.” Adding vinegar helps to pull minerals out of the bones and vegetables. She also says that chicken feet, found at oriental markets, really helps the stock to gel. Let me know if you try this!
Making homemade chicken stock is easier than pie! It’s also extremely frugal! This is how I typically prepare chicken stock:
Homemade Chicken Stock in the Crockpot
- I cook a whole chicken in the crockpot and serve the carved meat for dinner.
- After dinner, I pick the rest of the meat off the bones and refrigerate or freeze for soup, stir-fry or casseroles.
- Then I toss the bones back in the crockpot. Breaking the bones help release the good stuff into the broth. I break the bones if I feel like it.
- If I have “gizzards,” I toss them in the crockpot too. Organ meat actually contains more nutrients than the muscle meat. Most Americans are uncomfortable eating the organs. By cooking them in the broth, you can transfer many of the nutrients into the stock.
- Next, I add vegetables. I like to add onions, carrots and celery if I have them. Sometimes I buy bags of frozen carrots and celery and dump that in. You can use whatever tickles your fancy. This week I used the tough part of asparagus that I did not use in my asparagus and artichoke salad.
- Cover the bones and veggies with cold water and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will really help leach the minerals from the bones and veggies.
- Turn the crockpot on low. Cook 6-24 hours. The longer you cook, the richer the broth.
- For additional minerals, add parsley 10 minute before you turn the crockpot off. I rarely have parsley, so I rarely do this step.
- After the chicken and stock cool, remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock. Pour the stock into glass jars or freezer bags. Homemade stock will keep in the fridge 5-7 days or can be frozen indefinitely. Many people cook the stock down and freeze the concentrate into ice cubes. The ice cubes can be stored in a plastic baggie in the freezer.
- One last time, I pick through the bones for more meat. I can usually get 2-3 more cups of meat. This meat is especially good in soup.
It is important to note that most store bought stock is over-processed and contains undesirable ingredients such as MSG. I do keep organic, free-range stock on hand for times when I don’t have homemade stock but I prefer homemade stock any day.
Photo Credit: The Culinary Geek
This post is part of What’s on the Menu, Made it on Monday, Whatcha Makin’ Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s on Your Plate, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What We’re Eating Wednesday, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food Weekly, Simple Lives Thursday, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Strut Your Stuff, Thrilling Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Hookin Up with HoH,