Makes about 8 cups
Why This Recipe Works: This rich and well-rounded chicken broth is perfect for use across a wide range of paleo recipes—as a base for soups, stews, and sauces; as a cooking medium; and even on its own. Many recipes for chicken stock call for simmering a whole chicken, but we found that cutting the chicken into pieces yielded more flavor by providing more surface area for browning. We tested a variety of vegetables to round out our broth and found that onion enhanced the chicken flavor while also imparting a gentle sweetness. Chopping and then sautéing the onion in the pot after browning the chicken helped concentrate the onion’s flavor. We simmered pots of broth from 1 to 24 hours, and tasters agreed that at 4 hours, our broth had the best flavor—a deep, well-rounded chicken base with a slightly aromatic sweetness. After 8 hours, the broth began to taste slightly metallic, and further cooking gave way to bitter, harsh, and even burnt tones.
If using a slow cooker, you will need one that holds 5 1/2 to 7 quarts. You can reserve the separated chicken fat in step 4 and substitute it in savory recipes where olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee are called for.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds whole chicken legs, backs, and/or wings, hacked into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
8 cups water
3 bay leaves
1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Brown half of chicken, about 5 minutes; transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken; transfer to bowl.
2. Add onion to fat left in pot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt, scraping up any browned bits.
3A. FOR THE STOVETOP: Stir remaining 6 cups water into pot, then return browned chicken and any accumulated juices and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until broth is rich and flavorful, about 4 hours.
3B. FOR THE SLOW COOKER: Transfer browned chicken and any accumulated juices and onion mixture to slow cooker. Stir in remaining 6 cups water. Cover and cook until broth is rich and flavorful, about 4 hours on low.
4. Remove large bones from pot, then strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into large container; discard solids. Let broth settle for 5 to 10 minutes, then defat using wide, shallow spoon or fat separator. (Cooled broth can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
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