A good stock is the backbone of a good kitchen; it provides flavor to your dishes as well as sustenance and nourishment for your body. Broth features in the traditional foods of peoples across the globe. Stock is the foundation of classical French cooking and provides critical sustenance in peasant cooking among traditional peoples everywhere. Broth is dense in nutrients. Rich in trace minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well as glycine – an amino acid that aids digestion and may help to assist in the healing of wounds and injuries which may account for broth’s fame as a healing, wholesome foods. (Read more about the benefits of bone broth.)
Among traditional foods circles, the ultimate – and sometimes lofty – goal is to brew a broth that produces a beautiful, solid gel. Indeed, a solid gel is the hallmark of a successful broth. Roasting bones and simmering them for several hours will usually produce a solid gel, but gelatin also breaks down if heat is too high or if broth is simmered too long. For this reason you might find that the pan drippings from your roasted chicken gel quite well, but the stock prepared from the chicken’s frame won’t gel at all. Moreover, the quality of your ingredients greatly influences the ability of your broth to produce a successful gel, sometimes the bones, meat and skin of conventionally raised chickens will not produce a gel at all, regardless of simmering and brewing under optimal conditions.
One surefire way to ensure a beautiful, mineral-dense stock that can produce a solid gel is to use a fresh pasture-raised chicken or a thawed frozen pasture-raised chicken, including the chicken feet if you’re fortunate enough to find them. As the chicken will only undergo one period of cooking, as opposed to two (roasting and then simmering) producing a gel through this method of preparing chicken broth is more reliable.