For me, the ultimate goal of this recipe is the delicious, healing bone broth that comes at the end, after the chicken meat has been used for feeding my family. This is basic cooking, but sometimes basic is the best.
I start with a whole, organic or pastured raw chicken. You want a healthy chicken to start this with, because you are going to be using every part of this bird.
Rinse the chicken and take out the inner parts (liver, neck, etc) and put the in the fridge, as you will use them later.. Pat the chicken dry and place it in a crock pot, either on a rack, or ball up aluminum foil and use that as your rack if your crock pot didn’t come with one. Sprinkle sea salt, pepper and a little paprika over the top of the chicken.
Cook on low in the crock pot for about 8 hours, or until the chicken is done. If you are in a hurry you can do 3-4 hours on high, but I think it tastes better when you cook it slower.
Now that your chicken is done, pull the meat off the bones, and place on a platter. I usually leave the drumsticks whole and give those to the kids. Serve with a side or two of veggies and there’s a meal, complete!
Other ideas for the chicken meat:
- Shred it and make chicken salad. Add organic mayo, salt, pepper and pickle relish.
- Or, mix with salsa and you have chicken for tacos.
- Or, make your favorite chicken soup or chicken chili.
- Or, make chicken and dumplings. This is my family’s personal favorite.
As you can see, cooked chicken is the base for so many dishes and the possibilities are endless.
Now for the bone broth.
Place into the crock pot: the leftover chicken bones (all of them, especially the smaller ones with joints, as that’s where all the good collagen is). Add the giblets and other parts that you saved from the inside of the chicken; a couple of organic carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped; an onion quartered; a few ribs of celery and celery tops; peppercorns, salt, a couple of cloves of garlic; and about 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s). Fill the crock pot with purified water and turn it onto low and simmer for at least 12 hours (18-24 hours is best). Once done, remove the lid and let it cool for a couple of hours. Strain the broth and pour into freezer-friendly containers. You can pull out a container whenever you need it.
*Optional: (don’t read this if you are squeamish) You can add a couple of chicken feet to the broth. They add extra collagen, which is great for youthful skin and healing the gut. Where does one buy chicken feet? Check with a local butcher or a local farmer. I have a contact if you live in Charlotte.
Bone broth is one of the most healing substances for the body. The collagen, minerals and amino acids are a great way to build the lining of your intestines and G-I system. It tastes good and is also hydrating. It is a good way to help with a hangover. It is also great when you have been sick and start to feel better but don’t know what to eat. I like to drink bone broth in the morning out of a coffee mug before I have my coffee. It is a nice way to wake up the digestive system after you have had a good night’s sleep and your digestive system has had a rest.