Right now, it’s not the easiest of times for all of us.
Most of us (I’m in California so this is me) have been ordered to ‘Shelter in Place’ or basically stay at home unless you need to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor or get gas for your car – the essentials. For a lot of us that means that we are cooking more than we normally do and, if you’re like me and single, you’re also freezing things in portions for easy meal preparation.
All this extra cooking means that we lean toward comfort food. Comfort food is different for all of us, but some form of chicken soup is in every cuisine I know, and it all starts with a base of simple chicken stock.
A while ago, when bone broth was just starting to become popular, I was talking with a girlfriend of mine about finding a simple recipe for chicken stock. Everything I knew about making my chicken soup involved not just chicken but also carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, parsley and herbs and spices. Needless to say, it is a ton of prep work just to get it together on the stove. She told me that she had the easiest recipe for the absolute best bone broth. Fortunately for me she was happy to share it and now I’m sharing it with you. The worst part of this recipe is the 5 hours on the stove but right now we’re all at home anyway so it’s not that much of a time sacrifice.
- Have the butcher cut the chicken wings at the largest joint (each wing is now in two pieces) this exposes more bone.
- I like clear broth – so I wrap the chicken wings in cheesecloth and tie it up. This prevents almost all of the stray bits of chicken from floating around.
- Because I like it as clear as possible – when it’s time to strain the broth I place a layer of cheese cloth inside my fine mesh strainer and pour the broth through that.
4 pounds chicken wings (I use organic)
3 ½ quarts of cold water
Place the wings in cheesecloth and create a packet – tie in a knot to secure. Place the wings in the cold water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil on high and then reduce the temperature to a simmer. Skim the ‘muck’ that rises to the top as needed. This will subside after about 30 minutes. Let simmer for 3 hours.
After the 3 hours add:
1 Red Onion – chopped. This doesn’t have to be pretty because you’re going to strain it out after you’re done cooking.
2 Bay Leaves
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (not more and do not use table salt – it’s much saltier than Kosher Salt) I know it doesn’t sound like much salt, but it is all you need – trust me.
Continue to simmer 2 more hours. After the 5 total cooking hours your broth will have reduced quite a bit. Strain through a fine mesh strainer (add the layer of cheesecloth inside the strainer if you have it). Then chill in the refrigerator till it is set. It will actually be like jello – very firm. I put my broth into 8”x 8” square pans but a Pyrex baking dish will work just as well. I then cut my ‘chicken jello’ into 2”x 2” squares. Line a cookie sheet with saran wrap. Carefully slide a knife around the edge of the chilled ‘jello’ and then lift each square out of the pan and place it on the saran wrap. Put the cookie sheet with the ‘chicken jello’ squares in the freezer. Once they are frozen put them into a Ziploc bag and leave in the freezer until you need them.
You can either melt the squares on the stove or place them frozen directly into a microwave safe dish and heat them. I either just drink it warm in a mug, or add cooked pasta, or cooked chicken. You can really do anything that you like with it. My girlfriend loves this so much that she makes it every week because she drinks it every day!
I hope you enjoy this. Stay safe and stay well.