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Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe from 1833

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Bowl full of homemade chicken broth.

I recently roasted a whole free-range chicken, and this time I did something I had never done before – I saved the carcass and used it to make my own homemade chicken broth. It was actually really easy to make and much cheaper than buying store-bought broth. I also really liked the fact that I was able to use the entire chicken without wasting any of it and that I didn’t have to worry about my broth having any unnatural ingredients like MSG or other artificial flavors in it either.

This old-fashioned homemade chicken broth recipe is full of flavor and nutrition. Now that I’ve tried making my own broth, I can’t believe I ever used to just throw the chicken carcass away!

The recipe that I used was from an old cookbook called The American Frugal Housewife written by Lydia Maria Child. There were several editions of the book, but the one I found this recipe in was the 1833 edition.

This is the original version of the recipe as printed in Mrs. Child’s book:

“Cut a chicken in quarters; put it into three or four quarts of water; put in a cup of rice while the water is cold; season it with pepper and salt; some use nutmeg. Let it stew gently, until the chicken falls apart. A little parsley, shred fine, is an improvement. Some slice up a small onion and stew with it. A few pieces of cracker may be thrown in if you like.”

The American Frugal Housewife

Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe from 1833

This is my adaptation of this old-fashioned recipe. Since Mrs. Child’s recipe doesn’t specify any amounts for the herbs and spices, you can adjust the amounts as you like. This recipe includes nutmeg, which was a common 19th century flavoring. I wasn’t sure at first how the nutmeg would be with the chicken, but the flavors actually pair really nicely together, and the nutmeg is very subtle and adds just a hint of spice.

You can add a few crumbled-up crackers or breadcrumbs like the recipe suggests, or some rice as a thickening agent. Or if you prefer a grain-free broth, you can just let the broth simmer for a bit longer to thicken.

This is completely optional (and it takes a little getting used to at first), but another great way to make a nice thick, rich broth is to add chicken feet to the stock pot along with the chicken carcass. The little farm where I buy my pasture-raised eggs sells chicken feet from their meat chickens, so I sometimes get some to add to my broth when I stop by there. The chicken feet add a lot of extra gelatin and minerals to the broth, and whenever I use them, my broth actually thickens like jello when it’s in the fridge.

If you don’t have a good source of chicken feet from healthy chickens, though, (or if the idea of having chicken feet floating in your broth is just too weird), the broth will still turn out perfectly fine without them.

(If you like using printable recipe cards, I updated this post with a recipe card if you scroll down to the bottom.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken carcass cut into quarters (mine was from a 5 lb. chicken)
  • 3 quarts (12 cups of water) – you can use less water if you have a smaller pot
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp parsley chopped fine (or more if you like)
  • Onion slices (I used about 1/2 of an onion, but you could use more or less if you like.)
  • Optional – 1 cup rice (or crumbled crackers or breadcrumbs)

Directions:

Divide the carcass into pieces and put them into a large pot filled with the 3 quarts of water. Add the rice or crackers if you like or omit them if you prefer. Heat the pot until it is simmering. Add the onion slices and the herbs and spices and use a spoon to stir everything around a bit.

Pot of water simmering on the stove with chicken carcass and herbs.
My broth ingredients ready to simmer

Cover the pot and let it simmer until the bits of leftover meat have fallen off the bones. Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to just check to make sure the water level is ok, and you can add a bit more if it looks like it’s getting too low. It’s also good to check to make sure that it stays at a simmer and doesn’t start to boil too much, but other than the occasional check, you can mostly just let it sit on the stove while you go do other things.

I usually simmer mine for about 6 hours or so, but you can let it go for a bit longer depending on how much time you have, or if you’re running short on time, you can let it simmer for less. Even if you only have a couple of hours, you’ll still end up with a good homemade broth.

Broth is pretty forgiving when it comes to time. You want it to simmer for at least a couple of hours otherwise it might end up just tasting like water with a hint of chicken flavor. But other than that, it’s not something where you have to follow an exact timeline. You can always do a taste test, too, to see if the flavor is where you would like it to be and leave it for a bit longer if you want to give it more time to develop a richer flavor.

Pot of broth finished simmering and ready to strain.
Finished simmering and ready to strain.

After your broth has finished simmering, strain it through a colander to separate the liquid form the bones and meat scraps. Then you can use your broth right away for a recipe, or you can save it for later. I like to separate my broth into different freezer-safe containers so that I have some ready to use for soups or pot pie or other recipes. I also like to put some of my broth into 8 ounce Mason jars so that I have a cup of broth whenever I need one for a recipe.

Bowl of homemade chicken broth.

Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe from 1833

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes

This old-fashioned homemade chicken broth recipe is simple and easy to make, and it's a great way to use up the whole chicken for more than one purpose.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass cut into quarters (mine was from a 5 lb. chicken)
  • 3 quarts (12 cups of water) - you can use less water if you have a smaller pot
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp parsley chopped fine (or more if you like)
  • Onion slices (I used about 1/2 of an onion, but you could use more or less if you like.)
  • Optional - 1 cup rice (or crumbled crackers or breadcrumbs)

Instructions

    Divide the carcass into pieces and put them into a large pot filled with the 3 quarts of water. Add the rice or crackers if you like or omit them if you prefer. Heat the pot until it is simmering. Add the onion slices and the herbs and spices and use a spoon to stir everything around a bit.

    Cover the pot and let it simmer until the bits of leftover meat have fallen off the bones. Every once in a while, it's a good idea to just check to make sure the water level is ok, and you can add a bit more if it looks like it's getting too low. It's also good to check to make sure that it stays at a simmer and doesn't start to boil too much, but other than the occasional check, you can mostly just let it sit on the stove while you go do other things.

    Let your broth simmer for about 6 hours or so. (It's ok for it to simmer for less time or for longer if needed, so you can do whatever works best for your schedule.)

    Once your broth has finished simmering, strain it through a colander or sieve to separate the liquid from the bones. Then you can store your finished broth in the fridge for a couple of days for immediate use or you can store it in the freezer for use later on.

Notes

I usually simmer my broth for about 6 hours or so, but you can let it go for a bit longer depending on how much time you have, or if you're running short on time, you can let it simmer for less. Even if you only have a couple of hours, you'll still end up with a good homemade broth.

Description of Heritage Cooking Cookbook with picture of book cover with sliced loaf of bread and link to learn more.
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Bowl full of homemade chicken broth.

Another Great Homemade Broth Recipe to Try:

How to Make Bone Broth in the Slow Cooker – by Our Small Hours

This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer and Hearth and Soul at Elsa Cooks.

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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

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Brenda Mead

Saturday 25th of March 2017

This is the best and simplest recipe for broth. I made some using wild rabbit as well and it is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

I love old recipes and the photo sold me. I'm going to try this one. :)

ourheritageofhealth

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

I hope it turns out well for you! :)

Nadine

Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Hi Lori I am wondering if this broth is something I could pressure can :)

ourheritageofhealth

Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Hi Nadine, I've never actually tried it before myself, but the Ball mason jar website has a recipe for making chicken broth and canning it, so it looks like it can be done :) Here's the link for the Ball instructions for canning: https://www.freshpreserving.com/blog/chicken-stock-pressure-canning

The Old-Fashioned Dinner Habit that Can Help You Sleep Better | Our Heritage of Health

Thursday 31st of October 2013

[…] The solution for those times when you still want to have meat for supper is to eat foods rich in gelatin, such as homemade jello or fruit snacks or homemade chicken broth. […]

Elsa

Tuesday 29th of May 2012

I definitely need to get this book. This is exactly the kind of recipes I love making. Thanks so much for stopping by Hearth and Soul! I will be featuring your recipe on my blog tomorrow.

Lori Elliott

Tuesday 29th of May 2012

Yeah, this book is a great primary source for information about old-fashioned cooking recipes and methods. Thanks so much for featuring my recipe on your blog!

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