Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

So it’s cold here. It’s winter and there are officially several inches of snow on the ground. Perhaps as in most families with young children that means cold season has officially arrived and we are being duly hammered with its effects. As a counter offensive, both to ward against the cold and the colds, I’ve been making real, honest to goodness chicken soup out of this lovely chicken broth. Most of the time, I have to admit, my chicken broth comes from those re-sealable boxes. I tell myself that it’s okay and way easier (it’s true, it is) just to use the boxed stuff. But then I make real chicken broth, glowing a glorious yellow, rich with fragrant herbs and gold fat floating on top and I remember why it is that real chicken broth is so much better. I swear to do better and not throw out my chicken carcass when I’m in a hurry (blush), but to freeze it for a day when I’m feeling virtuous and stuck in the house anyway.  As broth purest will tell you, it’s so easy to make your own broth that how can you not? Just throw the bones and a few aromatics into the pot and wait. You were home anyway right, with the sick child watching TV instead of going to school? That was me and my reward (and hers) was this lovely soup broth, just waiting for a few noodles to be added or to be used in your favorite lovely chicken dish. I’m feeling warmer already.

A few practical notes: First, if your chicken wasn’t roasted it helps the flavor to roast the bones. Second, while it is a total, unalloyed pain, pick the chicken when it’s finished simmering (yes I know). This is probably my least favorite step, hunting through disintegrating chicken bits, skin and bones to find little micro bits of chicken. However, it’s worth it because that chicken is simply perfect for chicken soup or to be added to a chicken pot pie. Just freeze it and dump a block of it into your broth and viola, you have soup. Third, the aromatics included below are for classic chicken soup. If you’re making something else (hot and sour soup, say or something else with a totally different flavor profile) leave out the bay, and possibly some of the garlic, chilies and parsley. Just remember that if you do later use this broth for soup you will need to boil it longer to add those aromatics back in, whereas the broth below is basically ready to go and drink straight, for classic chicken noodle flavor. I think next time I make it I’m going to go for a Chinese flavor set and add garlic and lots of ginger, maybe some Thai basil in lieu of the parsley, bay etc below. It would make excellent won ton soup that way.   Finally, don’t forget that you can freeze the bones from your roast chickens and make a bunch of broth at once. That way, if you think you might get the urge to feel virtuous, but later, or know there is a day in the future when you will have time, you can still make this excellent homemade broth. Now to find a good wonton recipe…

Serves 4-6

Reheats: Yes

Freezes: Yes

Kid Friendly Tasks: Soup Taster

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chicken carcasses
  •  Water to cover
  •  10 peppercorns, whole
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  3 cloves of garlic
  •  2 carrots, chopped in large chunks
  •  2 onions, peeled and quartered
  •  3 ribs of celery, chunked
  •  1 tbsp parsley
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  2 dried chilies

Directions

  1. If your chicken carcass isn’t from a roast chicken, roast the bones in a 400 degree oven for one hour. Save the fat at the bottom of the roasting pan (yes I know) in the fridge for cooking with later. Just the tiniest bit adds tons of flavor to broth from a box or other chicken recipes (particularly those that call for chicken breast)
  2. Put all of the above in a large stock pot. Cover and simmer 3 hours until carcasses have dissolved and the broth is a glorious yellow color (and smells amazing).
  3. Drain the whole mess through a colander into another large bowl (I use my other large cooking pot). Pick the bits of remaining chicken meat (if you’re feeling virtuous) and save them for chicken soup. Cool and freeze.

 

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

 

 

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