Homemade chicken broth (or stock) epitomizes the “cottage mentality” of using what you have as well as my pantry basics recipes: it’s something we can actually make for FREE that lots of people buy.
Free? How? I utilize my freezer by keeping neck and wing pieces from cutting up a whole chicken and/or bones from a roasted chicken in a container, adding to it as I can. I also keep a baggie of trimmings from carrot, celery, and onion in the freezer that I cut off as I am using these vegetables for salads and other meals (you know, the ends that would otherwise be thrown away). When I have enough of both, I make broth.
Throwaway items + water + cooking time = free stock!
When I do have enough to cook up, I throw the frozen contents of both containers in a 6-qt (or larger) pot with the vegetables. Some people add whole garlic cloves and like the flavor, but I want my broth to be more flexible, so I keep it simple and straightforward. Note: you can see a whole breast in this picture, because I’m also making chicken soup at the same time – I’m going to pour some off for the soup, and freeze the rest for the broth.
Fill the pot with warm water (just to lessen the stove’s work to heat it up…) just covering the chicken. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to keep it at a slow simmer for a couple of hours. You can do it in an hour, but the longer you can cook it, the better flavor it will have and the more nutritious it will be. I leave a lid on slightly ajar.
When the broth has simmered, strain the broth out INTO A CONTAINER. Yes, I have dumped the chicken in the colander and watched my broth go down the drain before I realized it…learn from my mistakes.
Let the stock cool slightly and pour into freezer containers. These are quart size, but if you want a size to equal a store can, a pint container would be the closest. Note: I now use canning jars to freeze stock.
I made enough from this batch for a pot of chicken noodle soup and 2 quart containers, a pretty good amount for about 5 minutes of my time. Plus I used up what would have been thrown away, AND I have a better tasting product which is super nourishing, to boot. In fact, the tasty chicken noodle soup made with the stock (and meat from breasts pictured) sure hit the spot when we were all sick recently.
Have I convinced you to get your containers in the freezer, ready to hold all of your trimmings to make your own “gold” (broth)?
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