I use broth or stock in almost every soup I make, it’s also very tasty when used for boiling vegetables or cooking rice. However, most commercial stocks and broths have onion and garlic, which are high in FODMAPs (carbohydrates which have been found to irritate the gut, read more about it here). Luckily, it is incredibly easy, and inexpensive, to make your own broth, stock or bone broth at home. You also have the added benefit of being able to cook the ingredients longer which not only releases the collagen from the bones (which in its cooked form is gelatin, for those who are curious about the difference), but also all the nutritious minerals (which are not extracted in shorter cooking times).
The longer cooking time is what characterizes bone broth and sets it apart from regular broth and stock. Regular broth is chunks of meat and vegetables which have been cooked for a couple hours then strained and stays liquid even when chilled. Regular broth is the least nutritious of the three methods. Stock is made of meaty bones and vegetables and cooked for up to 6 hours to release the gelatin (cooked collagen) which gives it the characteristic jelly-like consistency when strained and chilled. Bone broth is meaty bone with or without vegetables, cooked for at least 24 hours and strained. Of the three, bone broth is the most nutritious. I choose not to put vegetables into my bone broth because I prefer the pure taste from the meat and bones.
The exception to all of this is a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are able to create bone broth that gels in the fridge as if it had cooked for 24 hrs, in as little as 1 hr! I let mine go for 2hrs for good measure.
The recipe below calls for a stewing hen; however, you can use anything you’d like: beef marrow bones, left-over bones you’ve saved from meals (in a bag in the freezer), chicken necks and feet (sounds gross, but they are very flavorful and you don’t eat them as they are strained out at the end), lamb, venison, rabbit, etc. I have only ever used beef, chicken and salmon, but I’d love to hear about how you make your bone broth in the comment section below!
Update: The last time I made broth, I used a pork knuckle (or ham hock in the USA) in addition to the hen. It tasted amazing! And there was so much more gel action! You should be able to find pork knuckles at your local grocery store. They are often frozen and come smoked or regular. You can use smoked and it will taste like you made your broth with bacon…. ummmm yes please!!!
- 1 stewing hen
- 3 gallons water
Stove top directions
In a large stock pot, put the stewing hen into the water and heat over high heat. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 24 hours.
Slow Cooker directions
Place hen in slow cooker, then fill with water until one inch below the top. Heat on high until boiling, then on low for 24 hours.
Instant Pot directions
Place hen in pot, then fill 3/4 of the pot with water. Set instant pot to high pressure for two hours.
After the allotted time, strain out all the bones and and chunks of meat which have separated from the bones. I don't find that the little bit of meat on these skinny hens is worth the time it would take to comb through the carcass. But if there are some easy pieces available, I'll toss them back into the broth, or feed them to my pup.
Divide into small batches and cool completely before storing in the freezer. I have found that 16oz mason jars are the perfect size. Be careful not to over fill, or the jar will burst in the freezer since water expands... you should be safe if you leave 1.5 inches of space.