First of all you need bones from healthy animals.
- The leftovers from a pasture-raised roast chicken are a good start. Save your pork chop bones in the freezer and add some of these to the chicken bones when you’re making a broth, they will add more gelatin to the broth without changing the taste.
- Pork stock is underrated and I encourage you to give it a try, it has a mild flavour that can easily replace chicken stock in recipes, and it has a higher amount of gelatin than chicken stock.
- Lamb stock has a strong flavour and is great for lamb stews.
- Beef stock is good in some meals, such as minestrone, curries, and other strongly flavoured soups and stews.
You need a high ratio of bones to water.
Stock with too much water will be a disappointment. It will be better than adding plain water to cooking, but it won’t be tasty on its own, or as the base of a simple soup. Spread the bones evenly in your pot, to completely cover it, if you’re using chicken frames you’ll need to break them up so that there aren’t huge air gaps in the pot. Put in just enough water to cover the bones, or up to an inch higher, not more.
Add a splash of vinegar
Vinegar will help draw the minerals out of the bones to create a superior stock. You don’t need a huge amount, around 2 tablespoons for one chicken is fine.
Add some vegetables if you like, but not all of them
Carrot and onion are good. I don’t add herbs, as I prefer to add them to the dish I’m cooking, rather than the stock. Don’t just throw in any old veggie scraps (feed those to a friendly goat), some vegetables will put off flavours into your stock, it’s best to just stick with onion ends and carrot peelings if you want to use scraps. A bit of celery is good too, if you have some.
Bring to the boil and skim
Put your stock on medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Skim off the froth from the top, then put the lid back on and leave to simmer for several hours before straining.
When your stock has cooked for several hours, leave it to cool slightly (but not too much, it should still be very hot to the touch) then strain your stock through a colander, and put it into suitable jars to use in meals. I like to keep a few 1 cup jars around, for adding small amounts to sauces and side dishes, and also 6 cup containers for making large stews.
I store broth in wide mouthed glass jars* or storage containers in the freezer, leaving plenty of room for expansion. To defrost in a hurry, I put the jar in warm water, and the outsides will begin to melt so that the broth will easily come out of the jar.
*don’t ever use jars that taper at the top, they will break in the freezer.