One of my favorite things about cold weather is warming up with a big, flavorful and comforting bowl of soup. While veggies and noodles and herbs make up a great soup, one thing that makes a huge impact on the flavor is the broth. If you followed me on Instagram over the last few months, you probably saw the major phase I went through of making chicken stock. Whenever you buy rotisserie chicken, make a turkey for a holiday or have leftover bones from a meal, you can save them to make a homemade stock. Fill up a pot of water with the chicken pieces, a few stocks of celery, carrots, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, herbs and the rest water… a few hours later, you have a rich, flavorful stock.
One afternoon this last summer while I was living in Indy, I went to the farmers market and went to buy chicken from the local farmer. We got to talking about making homemade chicken stock and instead of walking out with chicken breast, I had a package of frozen chicken feet in hand and was challenged to put them to good use. I had read – and the farmer agreed – that pigs feet add gelatin to the broth creating a rich, delicious texture.
I know the feet look a little scary (eeeee!!), but they really make a significant difference, especially if you’re not using any bones to make your stock. The best way to describe the difference is that the chicken feet release a gelatin that adds body to the stock, making it way more flavorful than just water. The gelatin gives this thicker consistency to the broth that makes you want to lick your lips.
You can see how it the color of water changes, the chicken bones all boil down, the feet cook through, the veggies get super soft and everything gets richer after hours of simmering below. Those little oily bubbles on the top make the stock glisten and the gelatin will firm up in the fridge to make it look like jello!
What next? Save the stock for later and make a bomb soup! You’ll be able to taste such a difference from store bought stock or broth. The soup will be fresher, deeper in flavor and you’ll know exactly what was in your broth (no preservatives)! You can freeze stock and save it for later, or you can use immediately. I just made a few huge batches after Thanksgiving and am treating this stock like gold!
My biggest tip about stock is that I don’t like to follow a specific recipe. You can use three stalks of celery one day or two the next. If you don’t have herbs or garlic one time, use extra veggies…and so on. Each batch may taste different, but you’ll be inspired to find your favorite combo!
- Chicken scraps or bones (easy to start with the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
- Aromatic vegetables (3 stalks of celery, 3 large carrot, 1-2 onions, 8 gloves of garlic) diced into large chunks
- Herbs (any combo of fresh parsley, oregano, thyme) – roughly a handful
- Optional: 4-8 chicken feet
- Place chicken bones and scraps, vegetables, herbs and chicken feet into a pot and fill to the top with water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 1.5 hours, even up to 3 hours until water has turned a golden color.
- Remove large bones and feet, then use a strainer to extract the liquid into large containers. Use within five days or freeze up to six months.
Love food. Love self. Love life.