- 1.5 lbs. of Chicken bones (raw with some cartilage and meat still on them)
- .75 lbs. of Chicken feet (trust me, you want the collagen, but if it creeps you out it’s optional)
- 2 Leeks
- 1 Onion
- .1 oz. Ginger
- 3 cloves of Garlic
Optional: Carrots, Celery, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Rosemary, Shallots, Whole Peppercorns or other “aromatics”You might be thinking, “Where do I buy chicken feet or chicken bones?!” I’ve found the majority of my parts at the Japanese or Chinese grocery store. Specialized butchers and Whole Foods usually carry parts as well. You may have to ask in the meat department. They’re typically pretty inexpensive and you can buy them for a few dollars for a pound or two.
When you’re making broth, you want to consider its end use so you can decide what kind of aromatics to add. The flavor of the aromatics diffuses into the broth and can alter the flavor quite a bit. If I were going to use the broth to make chicken noodle soup, I would have loaded it with all of the traditional aromatics: Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Carrots, Celery, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Rosemary, and Whole Peppercorns. In this case, I was making a large broth batch for the Vietnamese Soup, Bun Thang so I left out the “Western” ingredients.
Wash those bones and wash them well under running water in the sink. Random pieces of congealed blood and other bits will fall right off. Do the same with the chicken feet.
Find a tall stockpot and put the bones and feet inside. Fill with enough water to fully submerge. Now, fill one inch above that water level. Make note of where this water line is, because you will be maintaining that level for the next several hours. You and the line are going to be best buddies. Bring it all to a boil.
While you’re waiting for the pot to boil, use this time to prep all of your aromatics. Cut white bottom portion of the leeks into 3″ pieces. Onion can be quartered. Garlic cloves peeled and smashed a bit. Ginger chunks peeled. Everything is going to be fished out later, so don’t worry about perfection.
Once the stock gets boiling, you will see foamy brown scum and other bits float to the top. Use a fine mesh skimmer to take all of that dirty surface layer off. This is surprisingly fun to do. Get aggressive… don’t let a single piece of film or brown foam last in the stockpot. Once all scum is removed, turn the heat down to a simmer. You should see bubbles rise to the surface every few seconds. At this point, some people transfer the entire stock to a new clean pot. I really hate doing dishes, so I go the easy route.
Take a pair of chopsticks and wad up a clean napkin between it. Wipe any residual sludge you see on the inside of the stockpot with the napkin. Your chopsticks will keep you a safe distance away from being scalded. Ah yes, now it looks much cleaner.
Throw in all of the aromatics. From here on out, it’s smooth sailing. Keep the pot simmering away and add a bit of water to replenish back to the right level. Your best buddy, remember? I always keep a clean bowl and skimmer nearby in case any scum decides to make guest appearances. My rule of thumb (I learned this from Martha Stewart) is the simmer at least 3 hours to make a decent tasting broth. Keep it on for 4-5 hours to extract more collagen and achieve a better flavor.
Turn off the heat completely after 3-8 hours and let it cool to room temperature. Use the skimmer to fish out all of the large solids and discard. Then, use a fine mesh strainer and pour your broth into storing containers. Glass Pyrex bowls and takeout soup containers work well. I usually end up using my ramen bowls too. Refrigerate and use within 6 days or freeze and use within 4-6 months (some internet sources say up to a year, but I’m iffy about that). Once your broth chills in the fridge, check it out. Jiggliness directly correlates to collagen! Skim the thin layer of white fat off the top if you wish. I like to leave a little on. 🙂