Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade Chicken Broth

Well, as much as I hate to admit it, fall is just around the corner. Today marks the first day of September, the month in which we officially enter into the autumn season. And our weather has reacted appropriately. Today is clear, but the air is crisp and when I woke up this morning there was a fog blanketing the neighborhood. Just a whisper of fall- that slight tang in the air that warns you change is not far off.
So, it follows that today I'm writing a post about chicken broth, which is that base for many things, but most commonly soup. I don't think I've made one soup this whole summer! And I even refused to use my fresh chicken broth, storing it away in the freezer (especially since I made it on a hot day!) for a less warm and sunny season. I love soup- and so does Travis. One of our favorite things about the colder months is smelling big batches of homemade soup simmering away in the crock pot all day. And coming in out of the cold to slurp down a flavorful bowl of warm liquid, filled with savory herbs and hearty vegetables while snow softly falls outside.
A friend of ours gave us one of their huge (5 1/2 lbs!) freshly butchered chickens a few weeks ago. When I finally had it defrosted, I put it in the oven to one day when we were in town and we came home to a delicious roasted bird! Since there are only two of us, the meat has stretched to at least 4 or 5 meals. I used it in a chicken pasta salad, enchiladas, and chicken pizza! And there is even a bit of the dark meat left in the freezer to toss into a soup one day. I was determined not to let a bit of this bird go to waste, so I set about making chicken broth.

Having never made it before, I was surprised to find that vegetables go into the pot too, for flavor! And everything retains its skin- chicken, onions, garlic- even the celery leaves were included. So in went the chicken bones and chopped vegetables, along with some herbs and seasonings, and of course, water.

Then I simmered it for a few hours (which caused an amazing smell to fill the house and surely the neighborhood as well!). Once I had simmered it, I had a dilemma- no cheesecloth for straining! After scouring our 2 conveniences stores unsuccessfully, I asked advice of my trustworthy Facebook friends and finally chose the route of straining the broth through an old cotton dish cloth- which worked perfectly in the cheesecloth's absence. Once cooled, I skimmed off the little bit of fat there was, and popped it in the freezer- ready for the first fall soup urge I get!

Chicken Broth
(printable version)
BHG Cookbook
makes about 6 cups

3 lbs bony chicken pieces (wings, backs, necks)
3 stalks celery- with leaves, cut up
2 carrots, cut up
1 large onion, unpeeled, cut up
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme, sage, or basil, crushed (I used thyme)
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns or 1/4 tsp black pepper
4 sprigs fresh parsley (I didn't have fresh, so I substituted some dried)
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, halved
6 cups cold water

Place chicken pieces in large kettle or stock pot. Add vegetables and herbs and spices. Add water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 hours. Remove chicken pieces from broth.
Strain broth through cheesecloth in colander into container. Discard vegetables and seasonings. If using while hot, skim fat. Otherwise, cool, then lift off fat. Cover and chill for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

1 comment:

  1. I remember my mom always making her own broth! I would walk in the door from school and the house smelled so good. I haven't done this yet, but I keep meaning too. I can't wait to roast my next bird :)


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