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Using the Whole Chicken: Chicken Broth Recipe

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 2 comments

Using the Whole Chicken: Chicken Broth Recipe

Although I’ve primarily bought locally grown fruits and vegetables for the last few years, until recently I wasn’t buying local meat on a regular basis. That changed this winter when a local farm offering a meat CSA began distributing in my town.

I’m about 4 months into the meat CSA and it’s been a great experience. I eat a much wider variety of meat products and the food simply tastes better. It also feels good to know my food dollars are supporting a local farm.

Speaking of dollars, it’s a bit pricey to buy locally and sustainably raised meat so I’ve changed some of my habits to get every bit of value out of the CSA. To make the most of the two broiler chickens I get every month I’ve started making broth from the bones and leftover chicken bits.

Making broth is simple and with a slow cooker it requires very little effort. Just pile the chicken bones into the slow cooker, add vegetables and seasoning, and cover everything with water. Cook the mixture on low overnight and strain it in the morning. Then refrigerate the broth for about eight hours to allow the animal fat to rise to the top. Skim off the fat before cooking with or freezing the broth.

There are several different ways you can make the broth. You can use cooked bones, raw bones or a mix. Typically, I used all cooked bones. If your chicken comes with the organs, you can also add those to the broth. (Mine doesn’t so I’ve never done this.)

Here are a few tips for making your broth:

  • Flavor the chicken broth with any vegetables or herbs you like, keeping in mind what you’ll be using the broth for. I tend to freeze all of the broth so I go light on the herbs and then season it when I’m using it to cook.
  • The vegetables and herbs that tend to go well with stock are the ones you typically find in soup: celery, carrots, onion, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic, for example.
  • Instead of cutting up fresh vegetables for the soup, consider saving and freezing vegetable “leftovers”. Save the ends of carrots, celery and onions, as well as the centers of tomatoes, and other vegetable leftovers in a bag in the freezer. You can even save the onion skins to give the broth a nice caramel color. When it’s time to make the stock, add a few handfuls of vegetables to the crock-pot. Doing this saves time and money because you’re not buying or cutting up new vegetables.
  • The amount of water you use will play a role in the stock’s consistency. If the final product is too thick (more like stock), you can add water. If you’re freezing the broth, you may like to save space by freezing it in the thicker form and then adding water when you’re ready to use it.


Kim brings a hint of homesteading to the blog while focusing on changes that work with today’s busy schedules. She often shares recipes for making your own beauty and cleaning products and even canned goods. You can follow Kim on Twitter at @kim_ann.

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  1. Ellen

    I’ve done this and it’s so easy and tastes great. I freeze the broth in ice cube trays, then store the frozen cubes in a ziplock bag in my freezer. I’m more likely to use it if I can just grab a few cubes of broth, rather than having to defrost a container’s worth to measure out what I need.

    • Kim

      Thanks for mentioning this! I had heard about this idea but forgot to include it in the post. So far the jars are working for me because I know they hold one or two cups depending on the size and in the winter I tend to use broth in larger portions to make soup. But I’ll be doing cubes in the summer for risottos and other dishes.

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