Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Challenge Phase Two-Chicken Broth

Now that you have all your chicken set aside and some wonderful chicken bones, it is time to move on to phase two--chicken broth. I think making homemade chicken broth is my favorite part of cooking a whole chicken. The price for one container of chicken broth doesn’t seem outrageous by any means, but when I can make 29 cups of broth for drastically less (I’m talking less than one dollar) I have to admit store bought chicken broth is outrageously priced. Let’s also not forget all the excessive salt, "natural" flavors and MSG that many brands add.

I use chicken broth for everything. I cook rice with it, I add it to gravies, sauces and even boil pasta in it for any easy side dish; then there is the obvious use--homemade soup. It is an easy way to add depth of flavor to any dish, not to mention it looks pretty cool to de-glaze a pan even if it is only chicken broth that you use. So let’s start boiling some bones and making all of you look awesome!
Chicken Broth
Recipe Source: Your Grandma, My Grandma, and every cook who learned to cook before there were pre-made boxes and cans of convienence foods in every grocery store.

Rough chop 1 onion, some celery, a few carrots and a handful of garlic cloves. You don’t even need to peel these items. Just give them a good wash, run your knife through them a little bit and set them aside.

In a large stock pot, heat 1 T oil. Add in the chicken neck, giblets, if you swing that way, and rough chopped veggies. Oh, don‘t forget some salt, just a teaspoon or so for now. Allow everything to brown slightly. Remember, all that browning will add extra flavor to our final product.

When everything is brown and smelling delicious, add the chicken bones to the pot and as much water as your pan will hold. This is when it is important to have a big pot (thanks Anisha for letting me borrow yours!)Stir everything as it heats so that all those yummy brown bits can join the party and add flavor. Add more salt, we are shooting for flavor here, not just cloudy water. Bring it all to a boil and let it remain at a steady boil for 5-10 minutes. Then reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer about an hour.

Check your broth at this point. Taste it. Does it taste good? Yes, then you are done seasoning. If the answer is no, adjust your seasonings. Usually I still need some salt and pepper at this point. Continue cooking covered. Once everything tastes good, and it resembles something you would want to add to your recipes, remove it from the heat and allow to cool down. When the broth is at room temperature, strain to remove all the bones and veggies, then put the broth into the refrigerator and allow it to chill completely.

Once chilled, all the fat will be solid and at the top of the stock. Using a slotted spoon remove all the fat and discard. Pour into freezer safe containers and freeze for later or use right away. (If you don't have freezer containers, you can use ziploc bags.  Freeze flat for easy stacking later.)

I was able to get 29 cups of chicken stock!  I reserved 3 cups for the recipe Ellie gave me and froze all the rest. At the store, if you were buying the cartons that hold around 4 cups, it could cost you upwards of $18-20.  I made all of this for the cost of the veggies.
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