Making your own broth is a simple baby step towards better nutrition. Buying a whole chicken is usually cheaper (per pound) than its boneless, skinless counterparts. And the meat from a whole chicken tastes wonderfully moist.
Here's an easy way to make broth:
1. Plop a naked chicken in your crock-pot. I was so lazy I didn't add any spices or remove the giblets (the gizzard, heart and liver inside the bird.) This chicken is from a local farmer so there isn't a plastic bag inside. Because the chicken is pastured, it is smaller than its Tyson mammoth cousins.
2. Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar. The acid helps pull calcium from the bones and makes the broth mineral rich. If you forget this step, no big deal. The broth will still be good for you.
3. Fill crock with water. I was stingy with the water; I could have added more.
4. Turn on the crock. It will be done in 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. I consider it done when I push on a leg and it falls off. When the meat is that tender, it is very easy to remove the meat from the bones. Another indicator of doneness is when the broth is boiling. Often times I will put a rock-hard-frozen chicken in a crock before bed then unplug the crock in the morning. Because I don't like to wake to the smell of chicken, I plug up my crock in the garage or on the porch. It is so hot the critters won't bother it.
5. Let cool then remove meat from bones.
6. Strain broth.
7. If you want to make more broth, toss bones back into crock with fresh water and a bit more vinegar. Cook another 8-24 hours.
8. If you are in a hurry and want to be finished with the process, toss bones in the trash and refrigerate broth. Or, I have frozen the bones to make broth another day.
9. With a few hours of refrigeration, your broth will be gelatinous. Read here why the gelatin is so good for you. Maybe you noticed there isn't fat on the top of my refrigerated broth. I own a handy dandy gravy separator to remove the fat before refrigerating the broth. I don't always separate the fat.
For more ideas of five meals with two chickens, click here.
Here is my secret ingredient for making gelatinous broth.