Recently I have gotten into the habit of roasting a whole chicken and making homemade bone broth every week. This process requires a bit of up-front work, but then it makes meal preparations so easy for the rest of the week. One chicken easily feeds my husband and me for 4 meals, and I use the bone broth in the place of water in pretty much every savory recipe I make. Bone broth also makes a really good snack or very light meal, especially during a flare. It is very easy to digest and is full of nutrients that fight inflammation, reduce joint pain, boost immunity, keep bones strong, and strengthen hair and nails. This article among many others provides some good information on the health benefits of bone broth. Interestingly enough, I have found that both traditional and alternative sources strongly recommend broth consumption to IBD sufferers.
I feel like roasting a chicken should be a fairly simple operation, but we are so far removed from the natural state of our food that I feel like most people my age seem scared to buy and prepare a whole bird. I am going to walk you through the process step-by-step, and I promise that you can do it and even your grandma will be impressed with the result!
We normally eat the chicken and vegetables plain for a few meals, and then I use leftovers in recipes throughout the week. This week we used leftovers to make PaleOMG’s AH-MAY-ZING chicken pesto pasta. Since the chicken was already cooked, it was a total snap to throw this delicious dinner together!
Leeks have a tendency to collect a lot of dirt as they grow. To clean them, cut off the dark green leaves and the white end. Slice into the vegetable about halfway up the stalk and separate the layers so you can wash between them.
Arrange the cut, prepared vegetables and one third of your fresh herbs in the bottom of a casserole dish and add white wine. Drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies and sprinkle a little sea salt and black pepper on them.
Now it’s time to give your chicken a spa treatment. Reach inside and pull out the gizzards. Set aside. Rinse your chicken inside and out with water and then set in your prepared roasting pan. Massage it inside and out with the oil/spice mixture.
Once your chicken is done cooking, carve. If you’re not sure how to carve a whole chicken, this video is pretty helpful.
Finally we get to the part where you make chicken bone broth! Throw all the bones from the carved chicken into your slow cooker, along with your veggie trimmings. Also….let’s deal with the gizzards now. I like to add the neck and heart to my broth, but not the liver (some people are quite averse to the taste of liver in broth). The first picture is the neck and heart, which I throw in.
Cook on high for 2 hours, then on low for at least 6 hours, or up to 22 hours. Then strain through a colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth into a large bowl. And there you have it. Beautiful, golden, nutritious bone broth! If you have any solid fat on the surface once it cools, scoop it off with a spoon and discard or use in the place of cooking oil.
Roasted Chicken Ingredients (serves 4-5, with leftover meat)
- 1 whole chicken (organic and pastured is ideal)
- 7-10 carrots, peeled and cut in half
- 4-5 small leeks, cleaned with green leaves and bottoms removed
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 1 lemon, quartered
- several sprigs fresh herbs, divided three ways (tarragon, marjoram, rosemary, and sage are all good choices)
- 1/4 cup very dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper
- 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons herbes de provence
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Preheat oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pour white wine into large glass casserole dish. Arrange carrots, leeks, and 1/3 of the fresh herbs in the dish, with the leeks and carrots to the side and the herbs in the middle. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Remove gizzards from chicken and set aside. Rinse chicken inside and out and place in middle of casserole dish.
- Combine all dry herbs and spices and another third of the fresh herbs in a food processor. Process until they are a fine powder. Mix with remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil (the consistency should be like a thin paste).
- Rub the chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff the remaining fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic inside the chicken. If desired, tie legs together with kitchen twine (I never do, but it makes for a pretty presentation).
- Bake for 3 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Rotate veggies and baste chicken with juices about once every hour. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
Chicken Bone Broth Ingredients
- Raw chicken heart and neck (optional)
- Bones with a bit of meat still on them from roasted chicken (smaller ones snapped, if possible. Yes, I am a monster.)
- Vegetables (for this batch I used trimmings from 7 carrots, plus 2 more carrots cut in half, trimmings from 4 small leeks, and 3 celery stalks cut in half; at a minimum you should use leeks/onions, carrots, and celery, although other vegetables can be added and the ratios adjusted to taste)
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cold filtered water (enough to fill slow cooker to fill line)
- Add all ingredients except for parsley, salt, and pepper to slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 2 hours.
- Cook on low for 6-22 hours.
- Turn off heat and add parsley; allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Strain through cheesecloth and colander.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to five days, or in the freezer for several months.