May 5, 2010

A Whole Chicken...With Bones?!

Several people have told me they are not buying local whole chickens because they don’t know how to cut them up. Below is a 3 min. YouTube video which shows how to do this.

Occasionally I cut up a chicken, but usually chicken is cooked whole in the crock pot. (Four hours on high; 6-8 hours on low, depending on size). The chicken is done when the meat comes easily off the bones.

After removing the meat put the bones back into the crockpot to make bone broth. Bone broth is full of minerals and is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. If you don't want to make broth right away, freeze bones to make broth later.

To make bone broth in your crock pot:

- To the bones, add 2T of vinegar, I use raw apple cider vinegar. Remember the elementary experiment with eggs and vinegar? The vinegar helps to remove the calcium from the chicken bones making nutritious broth.

- Cover bones with water, filling at least 1/2 your crock with water.

- Turn crock on low for at least 8 hours and up to 48.

- Strain and freeze. I prefer pint size glass freezer jars but many people use 2 and 4 cup portions in ziplock bags.

- If you want to get fancy, you could add onions, carrots, celery and bay leaf or two for depth of flavor and more minerals but this is not necessary.

- Use bone broth in place of water when making rice, or in soup.


10 Tips for Even Better Homemade Chicken Stock
Making Nourishing Traditions Style Chicken Stock

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  1. When you first cook the chicken in the crockpot do you add water or anything?

  2. I actually found elsewhere on the website where it says how to cook the chicken but now I have another question: What is the difference between broth and stock and which is healthier and what is the best way to make it? I've been using Nourishing Traditions ways of making stock and while the chicken turns out great the stock is oily which I'm not a big fan of. I like the idea of cooking the chicken then making the broth instead of doing both at the same time but is it more nourishing to do both at once instead of cooking the chicken first?

  3. Heather: you can cook a chicken in a crock pot without water. When adding water, it helps to make a "meat broth". I'm not sure the difference between stock and broth. Maybe Lisa could chime in about the difference between meat broth and bone broth...or better yet, write a post about it! :)

  4. Meat broth can be made with only meat or with a piece of meat with bones in it. It is cooked for a shorter time than bone broth. Usually 1 to 3 hours. Meat broth usually has more gelatin than you get from bones. Bone broth is generally cooked at least 12 hours. The point is to get the minerals cooked out of the bones. So bone broth will have more minerals, but not as much gelatin. Putting chicken feet in your bone broth can really help increase the amount of gelatin in it. Today I cooked a pot of chicken feet with nothing else. The broth completely jelled. I then added it to some other broth that had not jelled. Gelatin and minerals are both good to have in your broth. On the GAPS diet (healing for digestive issues), meat broth, not bone broth is used in the intro. Apparently it is less likely to cause reactions in those with serious gastrointestinal issues and the gelatin is very healing for the digestive system. Bone broth is used after the initial period of meat broth, but using chicken feet or adding a quality gelatin to the broth is recommended.

  5. I forgot to say that I believe when using meat it is usually referred to as "meat stock," while broth is the term used for the longer cooking version with bones.

    Also, I often cook the chicken with a little bit of water, then take out the chicken and put the bones back in with the meat stock, add some vegetables, and make bone broth. I try to remember to add chicken feet from my supply in the freezer to this so I get some gelatin in the broth.

  6. Thank you. I have been making stock the Nourishing Traditions way. The chicken tastes awesome cooked that way but I hate that you have to cut the chicken up into pieces. Maybe it won't matter if I leave it whole. I've also wondered if leaving the skin off would help it not be so oily. I love my soup recipes and have been making them with store bought stock but I'd rather use homemade. However, I have not been happy with the stocks I have made. Very oily, not very dark.

  7. I don't usually cut up the chicken. I cook it until done, then remove it and put the bones back in the pot with some veggies and vinegar. You can get a more flavorful stock by roasting your chicken and then using the bones and scraps to make your stock. As far as the fat, I think NT recommends skimming it and using it for other purposes. I often just leave it. If your chicken is pastured and not full of toxins, then the fat should be healthy. I have read some controversy over whether chicken fat should be used that has been cooked for an extended period of time. The debate was over whether it becomes rancid. I don't know the answer to that. If you don't want "oily" broth, put it into your refrigerator until it becomes cold, then remove the fat from the top.



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