Traditional Chicken Bone Broth: A Recipe To Build Qi And Blood For Immune Building, Fertility, And Postpartum
Bone broths are a staple in many cultures, and when done the old-fashioned/traditional way, you really reap the benefits. And, on a Chinese Medicine level, bone broths have been popular for being bigtime Qi & Blood builders. Why?
Traditional bone broths are nutrient-dense, and include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and incorporate the marrow of the animal. Marrow helps our Jing essence (essence from the Kidney). Bone marrow is produced by Kidney Jing, so infusing it in bone broth is like drinking a cup of Jing. This is why I always recommend a cup o’ Jing daily to my fertility patients, since Kidney Jing is crucial to boosting a woman’s chances of getting pregnant!
Why do Chinese Medicine practitioners like myself make such a big wahoo about Kidney Jing? Because we are all born with it, the essence we’re given from our mother and father, and as we grow older, we dip into this “bank” of energy essence we’ve received. When we work too hard, when we party too hard (especially with the hard drugs), when we go for days without sleep, when we’re majorly stressed from work, our partners, or our lifestyle, we make a Jing energy withdrawl from our “bank”. This is when our Kidney essence becomes deficient. We feel exhausted. Women expend much Jing giving birth, and, for men, they lose Jing when they ejaculate. As a side note, this is why male martial artists have traditionally disciplined themselves from ejaculating, in order to retain strong Kidney essence. So, yes, developing strong Kidney Jing, and making constant deposits into our energy bank, is a good thing!
We can make a deposit into our Kidney energy bank by eating well and cultivating Qi (though Qi Gong, Tai Qi, meditation, etc.) There are even Kidney Qi building foods! Every Chinese Medicine organ has their own kind of Qi, and the Kidney Qi/Jing controls growth of bones, teeth, hair, brain development and sexual maturation. In addition, the Kidney is involved in building Qi and Blood in the body, and when the Kidneys are out of balance, we are more prone to fear and depression.
When do you need to build Qi & Blood?:
- When you’ve been working yourself ragged, and are exhausted
- You have partied hardy way too much
- When you’re sick (yes, Momma was right! Although, this version packs an extra punch, due to including the chicken feet, head, long cooking time, etc.)
- When you need to strongly boost your immune system (such as during recovery from cancer procedures)
- When you want to get pregnant (and may be having difficulty doing so)
- When you are recovering from postpartum (it helps speed recovery)
- When you feel the need for deep nourishment
I got this recipe when I took a class through The Traditional Nutrition Guild, to which I belonged. Hannah Springer conducted the class. She is chef of The Oliver Weston Company, a home delivery service of traditional prepared foods. She used the following recipe for chicken bone broth, based on the one found in the book, “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats”. I first learned about this book during my graduate studies at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and have learned much from it ever since. In general, I recommend this book for getting nutrient-dense food into your diet! It is that much of a rockstar.
Warning: Chicken heads and feet pix to come! (If this kind of stuff makes you squeamish, don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
CLASSIC CHICKEN STOCK
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
- Several sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-3 fresh bay leaves
- Bones from at least one whole chicken, supplemented with 1 lb. chicken feet and several chicken heads, if desired. (You may also buy only the bony parts from the farmer – try for 2-3 lbs. of bones and feet for a very large pot of stock (8-10 quarts), or use one whole stewing hen. You may also use the carcass from a roasted chicken, or roast the raw chicken parts before using. Using heads will impart your stock with great benefits from the thyroid of the animal, and using feet will make your stock highly gelatinous and nutritious. Make sure to chop the chicken into parts, so that the marrow and nutrients release more easily into the broth.)
- 2-4 tbsp. vinegar (approx. 1 tsp. per quart of water)
- You can also include some Chinese Herbs (this is not in the original recipe) – a good one to include is Gou Qi Zi/Goji Berries (which you can get in Chinatown or a local health food store, since they’re so popular now they actually stick it in trail mix!). This herb will help build blood and Yin, so it is a Liver/Kidney tonic.
Place everything in a large stainless steel pot and add cold filtered water to cover (keep in mind that if your pot is completely filled with bones you will not end up with much stock; it’s best to use a large pot and make sure the water covers the bones and veggies by at least 4 inches). If you have time, let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour; otherwise skip this step. After 9 hours of cooking, that meat was thoroughly cooked and falling off all on its own!
Bring to a boil uncovered so that you can see the scum that rises to the top and remove it. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on very low heat for about 8 hours (the proper temperature will just make gentle bubbles rise to the surface; do not allow the broth to boil vigorously or it will be very cloudy and not appetizing).
Remove all solid pieces (you may give your dog or cat the skin). Strain the stock into a large bowl(s) and allow to cool on the counter so you can add salt to taste. Store the cooled, salted stock in pint- and quart- sized containers in the refrigerator (glass) or freezer (plastic), depending on when you plan to use it. To thaw a frozen plastic container of stock, simply hold the container under hot running water for a minute, turning to allow all sides to loosen. When the frozen block of broth is no longer stuck to the sides, put it into a pot and thaw over low heat. Chicken broth stored in the refrigerator will last 1-2 weeks; simply reboil for a few minutes before using if keeping it longer than five days. If stock develops a sour flavor it is past its prime and should be discarded.
Uses for chicken stock (and other meat stocks) include: gravy for pan-fried and oven-roasted chicken; reduction sauces (flavored with wine, herbs, and butter/cream if desired); for cooking whole grains, potatoes, vegetables, and beans; for braising meat; and for soups and stews, including crock pot meals.
I have to admit that this was my first time cooking with chicken feet and seeing the head of the chicken. At first it was a little off-putting, but then, I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for the chicken providing me nourishment with its carcass. I blessed the chicken, as well as the other ingredients, which really brought meaning to this stock. A dish is more nourishing when it’s made with love and gratitude!
I brought the mason jars to work, and nourished myself as I was performing Acupuncture and Reiki sessions!
Enjoy the recipe, and share it with those you love!
As always, I’d love to hear your feedback, so feel free to drop me a comment, below.
With Kidney Jing love,
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