Three or four pieces of equipment to acquire for really good broth making. A Crock pot is a must. The twenty five dollar version you can even get them with football team logos. A large fine mesh sieve a super large like glass bowl with pour spout. Most often referred to as keepers of pancake batter glass is much better than plastic as it is non porous. If you can get a pan big enough to roast a chicken. Several retail stores have nice enamel covered Dutch ovens for right around 70 dollars you get at least a six to eight quart size. Best roasting dish ever aside from a roasting pan with a rack to cradle your chicken or turkey above the pan is awesome too. I haven’t used a roasting pan to do a chicken yet I like the Dutch oven it doesn’t get really brown but that’s okay cause if you’re making broth you want the skin to not cook out too much or it won’t release as much of the collagen that’s in the skin as you can get and also the fat in poultry skin is unsaturated good fat even though you will still want to skim it off. The other best thing to have is a fat separator. It isn’t necessary but so much easier than trying to skim it off with a spoon.
Now last time I roasted a chicken I rested the chicken on a bed of celery and carrots that had been snapped in half don’t bother peeling because you only want the juice not the pulp of the carrots and celery. A quarter of an onion and a half a bell pepper and three or four crushed garlic cloves. I also like to make an herb and butter mix to put under and over the skin of the bird. The skin is messy to separate but not difficult I usually get a big spoon and go for it and even make some separation between the skin of the legs and put some butter and herbs down there. I finish it off by pouring the remaining butter and herbs. If you don’t want to mess about with butter and herbs you can always rub the chicken with a package of ranch dressing mix because those are basically the spices you’re going to use any way. Just dissolve the packet of dressing mix in melted butter or olive oil. When you melt the butter only melt half of it save the other half to temper the butter because you don’t want hot butter rubbing on the bird skin it will start to cook the bird (not good).
The other good thing to have is an actual meat thermometer because once the breast is at 165 for the breast and 180 for the legs and thighs and don’t get the thermometer on a bone or it will give you a false temperature. If you do not have a meat thermometer you can do the prick test. Pierce the breast and one leg with a fork, if the juices run clear the bird is done. Wait for it sometimes it takes a few seconds for the juices to come up and out. I like to start off by putting the chicken in a 425 degree oven for twenty five minutes then reduce the heat to 350. About 55 minutes at 350 and check the temperature if it registers proper temps take it out and rest it about a half an hour to fourty five minutes. If you are roasting in a pan the chicken will brown nicely if you’re using a Dutch oven with a lid on it won’t but it will still cook correctly. Make sure to add oh at least four cups of water to the pan if using a Dutch oven or crock pot. Crock pots are nice for broth making but I prefer the taste of roasted chicken to boiled which is what the crock pot will do. With turkeys recommend twenty minutes per pound of meat.
Oh and other times I have put the carrots celery and other things inside the cavity of the cooking chicken. I have also put apples and other crazy things like lemons oranges and herbs and what have you in the cavity. The more you stuff the cavity the longer it will take to roast because it’s harder to heat it through and have that dry heat circling a bunch of stuff stuffed in as opposed to open air exposing the inside of the chicken to heat.
If you are going to stuff the chicken with stuffing make sure it is completely cooled before stuffing the chicken with it. However if you stuff the chicken with stuffing you will not get much broth because it will fall into the stuffing and you won’t have any crunch stuffing it will be all sog. (Much recommended that you use at least half corn bread if you insist on stuffing the bird. I personally like to get the broth and let the stuffing bake in the broth in the oven while the bird is resting on top of the oven. The temperature needed for fully cooked bird are the same for a turkey as they are for a chicken. You can also go crazy and try other herb mixes like Italian dressing mix and olive oil and have Italian chicken.
After the chicken is rested it can be carved. The leg and thigh portions will easily separate from the rest as will the wings. Meat near the bone will be hot let it rest. Usually after I get the legs and thighs and breast meat off I turn the chicken upside down and go for the underside. De bone the chicken as much as you like or as little. Leaving a little chicken on the bones is no sin. Let them cool completely and put them in the fridge. They can then be frozen until needed. For making a proper broth you really need the bones of two chickens. This can easily be achieved by picking up a whole fully cooked chicken at the deli some other night of the week and deboning it as well. You can even use fried chicken bones if you want because you are going to boil the heck out of them when making broth. Just don’t want the fat from the breading though ick. So I would skip it really.
So when I go to make a broth I make sure all the bones are thawed out and broken apart if you can crack some of the bones if you like. Just make sure that your bones are covered with water. Cook on low for a couple of hours then add your aromatics which would be your carrots celery peppers onion garlic and whatever else you might like to flavor your broth. I put in a couple of mushrooms last time. Apples and citrus will always make a nice flavor especially lemon. Lime and orange might add too much flavor. You can use all kinds of root vegetables as well parsnips turnips though I would not use beets. Rosemary and sage are nice long cooking herbs and a bay leaf is always recommended. You can also put potatoes and sweet potatoes and squash in the broth just experiment as you choose. When done cooking remove from heat if you have a separate crock pot liner. Strain the veg and bones into a fine mesh sieve into the large bowl with a pour spout. In batches and take the time to squeeze and or mash the veg down to get excess juice nutrients and goodies from them. You can then pour that into a fat separator and then into the container you will put into the fridge. Make sure you allow the broth to cool an hour or so before refrigerating. You can just put the whole thing in the fridge and skim the fat off the top later once it cools.
Now the longer you can let those bones and water and veggies cook out together the stronger more intensely flavored broth you are going to get. I have heard people say a week but I think if you can go for 48 hours in a crock pot you’ll get a good broth. One thing you might try is switching out the veg with new veg after 24 hours to get more veggie goodness in along with your bone broth. After cooking and cooling your broth it can be stored in the fridge for three to four days tops or in the freezer for about three months. Always chill in the fridge one twenty four hour period before freezing this will insure that you don’t get as many frost particles as you would if you just tossed it all into the freezer from the get go which you don’t want to do. You want to let your food cool on its own as much as possible. Now you have stock which you can add to soups stews sauces or for just plain drinking because broth is so good for you on it’s own.