If you want to cook tasty food, be self sufficient and save money, then you really need to learn how to make your own broth. Poultry or red meat: it’s pretty much the same process. You will need the following: herbs and spices, leftover veggies, leftover chicken or turkey carcasses (or steak or lamb bones if you want a dark broth), and tasty bits, water, salt, a big stock pot, a colander/strainer, cheesecloth (or a loose weave kitchen towel), a stove, and some time. Oops! Forgot: you’ll need some containers and a freezer! Making broth is much more of a process than it is a recipe. If you regularly make broth, you’ll develop a system of saving tidbits, so that you have the perfect ingredients without having to run to the grocery store.
Tidbits to save: So, to start off on the right foot, set aside a section of your freezer to save those tasty morsels for the broth. Dump these into a zip bag and toss in without a moment’s thought. If you haven’t saved any yet, simply add these to the pot when you get going:
- Onion skins and bits (these give flavor and color)
- Carrots (even the peels) and celery
- Fennel trimmings
- Parsnip (amazing top secret ingredient) and celery root
- Garlic bits and leftovers
- Pastured chicken and turkey backs, wings, anything left on the plate from your family (refrain from livers, as those cloud the broth — not much of a fan of gizzards, as they impart a different taste).
- Parsley and cilantro leftovers, such as stems
- If you’ve been very good, you will have saved your chicken necks and feet!
- Do not put in potatoes, as they will cloud your broth
When you are ready to make broth, take all your freezer ingredients and put into a large stockpot. Add enough COLD water to cover AND add 1 T of vinegar. The vinegar helps extract all the vitamins and minerals from the bones. (Do not add spices at beginning. Wait til end. See end of recipe.)
Bring to a boil. This is the only time you will boil the broth. Any fluids in the meat will rise to the surface as gray scum. You don’t want this in your nice broth. This is easily skimmed off and given to your dogs as a treat. If your bird is the carcass of a leftover, then there may not be much to skim off.
Return to heat and bring to a simmer, covered for 4 to 24+ hours. I usually do about 9 hours on the stove. You can also use a crock pot for 12+ hours.
Strain your broth. First, just through a colander, then again through the cheesecloth or kitchen towel.
Return the broth to heat and continue to simmer for another hour to reduce and develop flavor. Now is the time to add any herbs or spices. (If you add them at the beginning, they may start to turn your broth bitter when cooked for 9 hours.)
- 2 star anise
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 6 allspice berries
- 3-6 bay leaves
- 1 T dried rosemary or a large sprig of fresh
- 1 clump of thyme sprigs
- 1 t fennel seeds
- 2 T coriander seeds
- 1 t cumin seeds
- 2 t red pepper flakes (makes it hot—be careful)
- kosher salt (to taste)–add after cooking
You don’t need to stand around your stove during this. Go about your business, do the laundry, etc. Strain again to remove your spices. Let cool in fridge overnight. The next day any fat will be hardened on the top. Skim this off and give to the dogs. (And go through all your leftovers from the stock you strained the day before and give the dogs the meat, celery, garlic, and carrots. Do NOT give dogs onions or cooked bones.) Package the broth into straight-sided mason jars and freeze (when cool).🖨️ Print post
Why shouldn’t I give my dogs the cooked bones? I have been doing so and she goes crazy for them!
Because they splinter and the dog can choke or if swallowed cause a rupture. PLEASE…..NEVER COOKED BONES. Raw bones are soft and more digestible. Try a marrow bone for cleaning teeth and for calcium. Chicken necks are good too. Remember….all raw.
Paul Freedman says
I use an electric slow cooker which is cheaper these days, April 2022, and I feel more comfortable leaving the house or falling asleep on the couch.
My butcher always has bones for the dog or my broth.
Hope the tips help someone
Cooked bones of any kind are incredibly dangerous to a dog’s digestive system. They can fragment into shards and pierce the stomach or intestines and cause internal bleeding requiring surgery, or even death. The only bones dogs should be getting are raw from the butcher or grocery store, even ones from the pet store are steamed and can be hazardous. Everyone’s dog has gotten into the trash and gotten some bones from wings or something once or twice, sure, but I wouldn’t recommend purposely feeding or making a habit of it. Just not worth the risk.
Am I doing any harm if I don’t skim the fat? Also, since I do this in a crockpot, I don’t skim the “gray scum”. Any issues with that?
if you reduce the broth with the fat (which involves a low boil/simmer) the broth will likely not be clear. However, some people really like that. Nothing bad will happen to you :).