Apparently, I’m a grandmother from the Depression era because two of my chief joys in life are saving money and not letting anything go to waste. Seriously, I could spend hours in most thrift stores, and I’m a sucker for a sale.
In fact, my older sister was trying to describe our family to her 5th grade health class, and she told them how my face lights up when I see a “free stuff” sign in someone’s alley…and one her students, from this school in a rich Chicago suburb, raised her hand and said…”So, you’re sister’s kind of earthy?”
I guess when you make your own chicken broth, the description earthy applies.
I can handle that.
Let’s talk chicken broth. stock. broth. stock. First things first, I read extensively about the difference between broth and stock…I often see the two terms used interchangeably, and I came to the conclusion that there’s not much of a difference. It seems that broth has a little bit more going on…that broth is essentially seasoned stock that you could eat on its own; whereas, stock you only use in cooking.
But either way…broth or stock…I end up going through tons of it when cooking. You need chicken broth for the dressing that goes on this deconstructed Greek salad…
…and for this cranberry-thyme sauce
…and even this Moroccan Couscous Salad.
- Store-bought chicken broth can be spendy.
- Its less-expensive counterpart - bouillon – doesn’t taste as good.
- Homemade chicken broth is super easy to make (about 20 minutes of hands-on time) and you can control how much salt, if any, goes into it.
- Homemade chicken broth can be made with leftovers that you’d normally throw away (chicken carcasses, well-scrubbed peels of carrots, onion skins, stems of parsley, etc.).
- You can make a large batch of it, and it freezes like a dream, ready for when you need it.
To make your own chicken broth, start saving bones and chicken carcasses when you make them or buy those handy rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. After I pick them clean of meat, I throw them in a freezer bag until I have enough: you need about 2 lbs. worth of carcass, which is about 3 whole chickens’ worth. Meanwhile, do the same to the unused parts of your vegetables. Save up onion skins, well-scrubbed carrot and parsnip peels, cleaned celery tops and bottoms, stems of parsley. I typically don’t freeze these, but about a week before making chicken broth, I throw these veggie scraps into a container in the fridge.
When you have a few hours at home, place your chicken bones and carcasses in a large stockpot. Cut your veggies and scraps into large pieces and throw those in too. Fill the pot with water, your herbs, and simmer on low for about 4 hours. Your house will smell like a chicken-soup paradise, and you will be hungry all day, guaranteed.
I like to let my strained broth sit in the fridge overnight so that I can skim the fat off the top the next day before getting it in freezer bags. But that’s it. So easy. Cheap. And delicious. You’ll be able to taste the flavor of your fabulous broth in sauces, soups, and salad dressings for sure.
Broth. Let’s do this. Grandma-style (10 points to the creator of “Grandma-style” dance like the ever-popular Gangnam-style).
(recipe from Carpé Season)
(yields 19 c. of broth)
Homemade chicken broth and stock are so easy to make and have such a rich taste compared to store-bought broth and bouillon. Plus, you can use up chicken and vegetable scraps to make the broth and save some money in the process!
2 lbs. chicken carcasses (bones, skin, cartilage from 3 whole chickens)
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks*
2 parsnips, scrubbed and cut into chunks*
1 large onion, cut into chunks*
1/2 yellow onion or 1 large leek, cut into chunks*
3 celery stalks w/ leaves*
1/2 garlic head, peeled
2 bay leaves
3 parsley sprigs, stems included*
1/2 tsp. dried thyme**
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary**
20 turns pepper mill
2 turns salt (optional)
*You can use equivalent amounts of well-scrubbed carrot and parsnip peels, celery ends and leaves, onion skins, and parsley stems instead.
**If fresh thyme is in season, use 2 sprigs; fresh rosemary, 1 sprig.
Place chicken carcasses in a large stockpot (mine is 8 qts.). Add carrot, parsnip, onion, leek if using, and celery chunks, plus your garlic, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and salt, if using, Pour in enough water to reach the top of the pot.
Bring to boiling over high heat. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to low, and skim the fat off the top (I used a fine mesh strainer for this; you can also use a slotted spoon). Continue to simmer, uncovered over a low heat, for 4 hours, occasionally skimming more fat off the top. (After about 2 hours, you can add a little more water to the pot if you feel like yours is getting low.)
Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large heat-proof bowl. Strain it a second time by again pouring it through the mesh strainer, this time, lined with paper towels.
Once strained broth is in a heat-proof bowl, allow to cool slightly, and cover with a lid. Let broth sit in your refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove solidified fat from the broth.
Use within a week, or freeze up to 6 months.
-Pour 1 c. of broth into a pint-sized freezer bags (I do 1-cup portions since most recipes call for 1/2 to 1 c. of broth at a time; when a recipe calls for a 1/2 c. I break off about a half of the frozen broth).
-Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag as you seal it up.
-Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Lay your filled and sealed freezer bags flat on the cookie sheet, separating layers of bags with a layer of wax paper.
-I like to reserve about 4 c. of broth and freeze it in ice cube trays, which gives me little 1/8 c. cubes. Once frozen, I place the broth cubes in a freezer-bag or air-tight tupperware. These little cubes are perfect for recipes that call for just a small amont of broth.)
-Allow broth bags to freeze solid; remove from cookie sheet and freeze for up to six months, thawing before use.