Chicken broth is widely regarded as a restorative food in culinary traditions East and West. This broth recipe adds Chinese herbs to make a delicious tonic, which can serve as a flavorful and nutritious base for soups, sauces and stews. For more about the restorative power of broth, check out our book review of Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaala Daniel.
American ginseng is a powerful but gentle herb for restoring vital energy (qi). Chinese dates (jujube) and goji berries add sweetness to balance the flavor of the ginseng. Chicken feet enrich the flavor and add gelatin, important for rebuilding connective tissue. Kelp adds minerals and a mild salty flavor. Vinegar helps draw minerals from the bones into the broth.
Adding salt directly to the broth is not recommended. Salt can be added later if you use the broth as a base for soup or stew.
Always use the highest quality food products you can buy, preferably organic poultry and vegetables. The Chinese herbs can be purchased at an Asian specialty grocery or herb store.
approx. 4 lbs. chicken backs and necks, or a leftover poultry carcass from a roast
2-4 chicken feet
2 onions, coarsely chopped, skins may be left on
2 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
about 4 quarts water
10-15 g. American Ginseng (Xi Yang Shen)
10-12 Chinese Jujube (Da Zao)
1/4 c. Goji Berries (Gou Ji Zi)
optional: large piece of dried kelp (Kombu or Kun Bu)
Place the chicken parts and chicken feet in a large stock pot. Cover with water and vinegar. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat, uncovered. Skim off any scum that rises to the top. Once the scum has been skimmed off, add the remaining ingredients, return to a simmer, and then lower the heat. Cook at a very slight simmer for 4 to 6 hours.
Remove the bones and strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot or large bowl. Let it cool, and then refrigerate for several hours to allow the fat to congeal. Skim the fat off the top. Your stock is ready to use. Or you may transfer it to covered containers and store it in the freezer until you need it.
If you wish, remove the meat from the bones and use it in other dishes, or feed it to your dogs.