Easy Chicken/Bone Stock and or Broth

Well, I realize it has been a mighty long time since I have posted. We started the GAPS diet about 6 weeks ago and life has been a little chaotic. I am finally settling in to the routine, and this past week, it seems like I am back to my "old kitchen routine!" Hooray. As with many things in life, the adaptation is the hard part, and this Therapeutic diet is proving to be no different.

GAPS calls for lots and lots of meat and bone broths as they foster to heal a weak gut. The gelatin contained in a homemade stock also helps to seal off the gut to prevent "leaking" problems. All of this helps digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Plus, with flu season in full swing, homemade soup and stock is one of the best things to feed your family!

With that said, I have had lots of questions in my personal email lately about "how to make stock." Instead of typing it out in many emails, I am going to post my easy "crock pot" recipe, without meat (meaning you are cooking chicken meat by some other means) and with meat, since that seems to be the method of choosing for me right now!

Cooking Chicken by Roasting, grilling etc.
All of our chickens come whole! So, when we want something other than roasted chicken, I have to cut it off the bone. I take my chicken and quarter it. I remove the legs with the thighs and debone the breast meat. I am than left with the carcass, wings, and back meat. I remove the wings and cut up the carcass, or break it with my hands into 4 pieces.

I place the wings, and the broken carcass right into the crock-pot along with the neck (cut into small pieces, maybe 5 or so) liver, and heart. I fill my 6 quart crock-pot just about full, maybe 5 quarts of water.

Here is where you have creative freedom. You are welcome to place an onion coarsely chopped, celery, carrots, garlic clove, etc. etc.

I personally add:
1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar (which helps leach the minerals from the bones of the chicken)
2 TBsp Salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
some chicken feet
see below "Proceeding with stock"

With the Meat:
I start in the morning, and cut my chicken and place it in the crock pot. For a 4-5lb bird, I place the quarters on the bottom of the pot with the organ meat etc, and fill with water, add salt, pepper, garlic (and anything else you want to eat with the chicken) and turn it on low for 4-6 hours depending on the bird. When time is up, I remove the meat from the chicken and about 1/2 of the stock. I put the bones back in the stock, add some chicken feet and more water and proceed with the directions below.

Proceeding with bone/meat stock:
I put the crock pot on high, and add the rest of the bones left-over from dinner when we are done. Before bed I turn my crock-pot to low and let it simmer for 24 to 36 hours. This will allow for all the minerals to be absorbed from the bones into the stock. When done, I simply pour through a mesh strainer into a large bowl and cool. We leave our fat in the stock b/c of GAPS, but you could easily chill it and skim the fat off, and store it in the fridge for a week or freezer for several months. (I like to ice cube tray it for ease of future use if in the freezer.)

All the extra parts that are left in the meat strainer I than place in my food processor (yes, bones, extra meat, organ meat etc) and puree until smooth. Yeah, for Pate! You could also place through a juicer. I find this is a messier option, and if you well cook your bones, they are soft enough to smash between your fingers... They will need to be juiced twice! :)

If you are daring you could add onions, garlic etc to it and use it as a dip. I tend to hide this paste back into my stocks and soups as the weeks goes on.

If you aren't feeling so daring, you can separate out what you will eat (meat, organs, etc) and toss the bones to your pet or the trash.

Bone pate was a new discovery for us with GAPS, but as least we are now able to use all the chicken, and have an awesome source of minerals!

That's it!
Please let me know any tips tricks you all might have to make the process go smoother. I have found for me personally this is the easiest method for me to make sure I am using my whole bird each time. I used to store up bones and than do a huge 10 quart plus batch of stock, but this became to daunting of a task for me. So, yes, I do always have a crock pot plugged in, but it works for us! :)