Chicken broth or stock has been used as a healing food for centuries. There are lots of health related recipes for chicken (or bone) stock available online, but I’m afraid many of them are not pleasant to drink, and certainly don’t look very appetising! I think much of this has to do with the fact that these recipes call for plain, uncooked bones, straight from the butcher. I have tried making these sort of stocks so many times, but I am never very satisfied with them as they just don’t taste nice!
My slow-cooked chicken broth uses the more traditional idea of using the leftover carcass of a whole roast chicken, and as a result the flavour deeper, although still very mild; it’s not a rich chicken soup by any means, more of a subtle yet flavoursome comfort food. I don’t eat vast quantities of meat, but I do tend to buy a whole chicken from the butcher once a week to feed the family. If you lived alone or in a smaller household I would still recommend buying a whole chicken, as leftovers store very well in the fridge for a few days and can used for lunches and dinners on subsequent days. I find it quite an economical way to eat. Plus, using the carcass afterwards reduces waste.
This recipe is really adaptable and can be made as simply or elaborately as your like. You can, for example make the stock from just the chicken and vegetables. Alternatively, for extra nutritional benefit, you can add herbs, dried mushrooms such as shiitake, chunks of fresh ginger and even fresh turmeric if you are able to get hold of it.
- 1 chicken carcass (the leftovers from a whole roast chicken including bones and any meat or skin remaining)
- 2 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped in half
- 2 unpeeled carrots, rinsed and chopped in half
- 1 red onion, skin retained but well washed and chopped in half
- 2 garlic cloves, skin retained, rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- Handful of black peppercorns
- A generous pinch of salt
- Any fresh herbs (e.g. rosemary and thyme)
- 5-6 whole, dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed
- 1 large chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled
- 1 chunk of fresh turmeric root, peeled
- Place the carcass, including any leftover bits from carving, into your slow cooker along with all the other ingredients.
- Then, fill the slow cooker with water (between 1-2 litres depending on the size of your pot), enough to cover the chicken.
- Turn the slow cooker on to its lowest setting, and cook for a minimum of 8 hours (I try to cook mine for around 12).
- When cooking has finished, ladle the broth through a sieve into a large bowl or jug to remove any bits. You should end up with a clear, smooth liquid that smells gently of roast chicken.
- If you have used skiitake mushrooms you can remove and slice them up to and enjoy in a bowl of your broth.
This soothing broth can be stored in a sealed jug in the fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, freeze in individual portions to reheat as needed. It works as a fabulous base for other soups, but is equally nice on its own. I enjoy heating some and drinking from a mug.