Never throw out a carrot-end again with this simple and nourishing recipe that uses all your vegetable scraps and every part of the chicken.
I first heard about this brilliant idea from Louise Hay of all people. I was at the Hay House Convention in Sydney and saw this giant of personal development live for the first time. I’d grown up with reference to her ‘YOu Can Heal Your LIfe’ book being the first response to any ailment. Doctors came a distant second for my Mum. In her eighties at this stage, Louise was an inspiring and vital woman. She shared her trick of looking so young – it was broth. Every time she chopped a vegetable she would freeze the offcuts, the peel and the ends of the carrots, the stalks of the broccoli, and all the rest. Once the big container in her freezer was full she would make broth. I loved it and ever since have done the exact same thing.
One of the many wonderful things about this broth recipe is that it uses chicken carcasses and necks, two things that butchers will always have lying around after preparing the more popular parts of chickens for sale. They are cheap and full of goodness. By using them you are doing ‘top to tail’ cooking which is far better for the environment in that it means less waste. It ensures that every part of an animal – that has taken a lot of feed and water to create into food – is utilised. It’s how our grandparents always cooked (think offal, tongue, brain and all those yummy things).
Nourishment-wise, this broth packs a punch. It is filled with all the goodness of the vegetables you combine but also captures the minerals out of the bones of the chicken. This means we get the benefits of calcium, magnesium and phosphor – all of which are classically depleted in mums after breastfeeding and childbirth, and also just as we age. These are important for bone growth and repair. Adding the unprocessed apple cider vinegar to the pot with the chicken before heating helps ensure those minerals are extracted.
The gelatin aids in maintaining the lining of the gut (which many modern foods do not) and generally improves digestion. The glucosamine is super helpful for healthy joints. And glycine is great for its general immunity boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
I recommend cooking this one for between 3 and 24 hours but no longer. It is also important to skim the fat off the top once cooled and before serving. Unlike beef fat (or dripping) which has nutritional properties, chicken fat is not beneficial.
In regards to the right cookware, I found a wonderful large stockpot at the local shops for not much money. Although slow cookers are good to use overnight, they are often too small. I prefer to use a large pot and make a generous batch for freezing. That said, if you are nervous about leaving the pot on the stove you can place it in a very low oven overnight but be prepared to top up the water as needed as it will evaporate a lot faster with this method.
The vegetable ingredients listed below are a guide only, in reality, I use whatever is in the freezer draw but always add in the carrots (for colour) and the onion, herbs, garlic and swede (when available) for flavour.
Ingredients (organic where possible)
2 local/chemical-free or organic chicken cases (or carcasses)
1 bag of chicken necks (use wings if these are not available)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (the one with the ‘mother’ in it)
1 tablespoon of salt per litre of water
1 swede roughly chopped (if available)
2-3 onions roughly chopped (or leek and spring onion scraps are good too)
3-6 garlic cloves all crushed & chopped finely
Parsley stems and leaves
Add other fresh herbs to taste
2-3 carrots roughly chopped (no need to peel)
1/2 bunch celery roughly chopped including leaves
Top with filtered water
Place chicken pieces into a large stockpot and top with apple cider vinegar and a couple of cups of water and leave to sit for 30 mins.
Add salt and 3/4 fill the pot with filtered water. Bring to a simmer and skim the impurities (white creamy stuff) off the top. I use a tea strainer for this.
Add all the vegetables and fill the pot to just below the brim with more water if necessary.
Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and allow to cook slowly, stirring occasionally for between three and twenty-four hours (but no longer).
Strain out the ingredients leaving only the broth once cool enough to do so. Portion into smaller containers (through a fine strainer if you like) and allow to cool. Once cool enough to refrigerate or freeze do so until fully cooled. Then be sure to remove the layer of white fat off the top before serving.
Serve with a few drops of lemon juice or some lemon zest, and some chopped parsley, not too hot.
You can find more tasty, simple and nourishing recipes here.
It is a 28cm 12 litre stock pot I’ve been using with this recipe for the record.