Homemade chicken broth is like pure gold in our house. In fact, we never buy boneless chicken breasts anymore because we don't want to lose out on the nutritious, delicious homemade broth!
Bone broth is rich in minerals and amino acids and makes all the difference in a great chicken soup. I shudder to think of all the times we threw out chicken bones after dinner because I couldn't be bothered to make broth with it!
Making broth really is a simple process, made even simpler by use of a slow cooker.
Step 1: After dinner I bring out a bowl and have everyone throw any bones, bits of meat and skin in it.
Step 2: Add enough cold water to cover all the bones. Add a splash (about a tablespoon, but I don't measure) of apple cider vinegar, it helps draw the nutrients out from the bones. Don't worry, it won't make your broth taste like vinegar! Throw in a sprig of thyme or rosemary if you have it.
Why no vegetable scraps? Many people add veggie scraps to their broth and that's fine. I leave mine out for three reasons: 1) I want to be able to control the flavour of the final dish. If I want onions and celery in my soup, I'll add them when turning the broth into soup later. 2) My crockpot gets pretty hot and the long cooking time causes the onions to caramelize and the broth to turn a dark brown colour. and 3) I want to keep the whole process so super simple that I can throw it together quickly while tidying up after dinner.
But go ahead and experiment with adding your veggie scraps if you want!
Step 3: Turn the crockpot to low and let cook overnight. I normally start my broth at about 6:30 in the evening and let it go until 9 or 10am the next day.
In the morning it will look something like this (and your house will smell heavenly).
Step 4: Strain it! I place a wire mesh sieve in a large bowl with a small piece of cheesecloth. I use the cheesecloth because it helps to strain out little bits of sediment better and also because it makes the sieve easier to clean.
Discard the bones and you have a rich, beautiful fragrant bone broth!
Step 5: Defat the broth. Place the broth in the fridge to cool completely. Once it is cool, you can easily skim off any fat that has gathered on the top. You don't need to get every speck, but too much fat in the broth can give it a greasy feel in your mouth that isn't entirely appetizing.
OR soak a piece of paper towel in clean water and lay it gently on the top of the bowl of cooled broth. Because it's already wet, it won't soak up your broth, but the fat on the top will stick to it. Immediately lift out the paper towel, you'll be able to see all the bits of grease you've removed!
When you use your broth in soups, sauces, or just to drink warm from a favourite mug, you will definitely want to add salt, since we haven't done that yet!
So, to summarize: collect bones, cover with water, add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Cook on low overnight. Strain. Cool. Defat. Salt. Delicious, easy, homemade bone broth ready in time for lunch!