It’s soup season, and a hearty broth provides an incredibly versatile base for home cooks who want to make their own soups from scratch. Bone broth is an increasingly popular ingredient in soups and sauces, and offers nutritional benefits over traditional stock. 

Livia Woodburn of Pan-Handlers Café—and the chef behind the Amarillo National Bank Dining Room—produces some of the best soups in the city. We asked her why she prefers bone broth as a soup base.

“Chicken bone broth contains more protein, collagen, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals than regular chicken broth,” she says. “Chicken broth may be okay for cooking, but bone broth is much more concentrated and delicious.”

She says making bone broth at home is easier than most people think, and shared her own recipe for it, along with two amazing soups that make use of it. 

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth

2 ½-pound roasted chicken carcass
6 medium carrots, roughly chopped
6 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
6 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
6 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
12 cups cold water

To a 6-quart (5.5 liter) Instant Pot, add chicken bones, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, apple cider vinegar, and water; stir to combine. Set Instant Pot to high sauté and bring to a boil. Cook until any impurities foam to the surface, then carefully skim off the top with a large spoon. Place the lid on the pot and turn the venting valve to sealing. Set manual cooking time for
60 minutes.

Release pressure with a towel or oven mitt by switching the vent to venting, making sure to avoid hot steam from the release switch. Wait for pressure to release and the Instant Pot to unlock before removing the lid. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Makes 6 cups


This recipe also works well in a slow cooker: Add all ingredients to a Crockpot. Cover with filtered water and cook on low for at least 12 hours (16 to 18 is best).

You can use chicken, beef, turkey or pork bones. They can be raw or cooked.

For a richer, darker broth, roast the bones in the oven first (450 degrees for 30 to 60 minutes).

Save leftover herbs and vegetable scraps from cooking in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, use them to make homemade broth.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound ground Italian sausage
1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 pieces bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups chicken broth (or bone broth)
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound Russet potatoes, sliced (about 3 large potatoes)
¼ bunch kale

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat; refrigerate while preparing other ingredients. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add chicken broth and heat until boiling. Add sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sausage and kale; heat through and serve. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Quick & Easy (Cheater) Posole

1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons flour (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch for gluten-free)
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
3 ounces tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
¾ teaspoon salt
5 cups chicken broth (or bone broth), divided
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained
1 ½ cups shredded pork, chicken or beef (pre-cooked)
Juice of 1 fresh lime
½ bunch fresh cilantro

Finely dice onion, then add it to a large soup pot along with cooking oil. Sauté onion in oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add flour (or cornstarch) and chili powder; continue to sauté for two minutes more. The mixture will be fairly dry, so stir continuously to prevent burning. Add 2 cups broth, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to pot. Whisk ingredients together until tomato paste is dissolved. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. Finally, add remaining broth, shredded meat, green chiles, and hominy. Stir to combine and then heat through (about 10 minutes). Add lime juice and cilantro and serve. 

Makes 6 servings