Chicken Soup For The Soul
Grandma always said, “Chicken soup is good for you!”
When it starts to get colder and the weather is dreary and dark, it makes for a nice setting to make a large batch of chicken broth.Cooking up a batch of broth always warms the entire house with a very nice aroma that lasts all day long as I slowly cook the broth on the stove for hours on end. Chicken broth is nice to have around – it’s used in a wide variety of recipes for soups and sauces that we make.
I like to make a big batch of broth and freeze it in small containers and jars to have on hand whenever a recipe calls for it. Sure I can (and do) use the packaged broth and the cubes to make broth, but to me, having home made broth is the absolute best, and its fun to make.
Chicken broth is good to make when you have left over chicken or turkey bones and parts from a prior dinner – why waste them? Make a good batch of chicken broth and you can get more bang for your buck out of your poultry and you’ll have some home made chicken broth on hand when you need it.
I found that occasionally the supermarkets have chicken on sale and you can get a whole chicken or parts (thighs etc 4-5lbs) for around $5 or $6 dollars, which will make about 5 quarts of broth.
My favorite, and what I consider a good basic recipe, is the one by Alton Brown. It’s got a good foundation and I like his ideas for techniques to get the most out of all the flavors.
Grab a very large pot that can hold 2 gallons of water, and a steamer basket
Here’s the recipe which can be found on the Food Network website
4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2
1 leek, white part only, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
10 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 peppercorns
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 gallons cold water
Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Set opened steamer basket directly on ingredients in pot and pour over water. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and twice each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately in large cooler of ice or a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Use as a base for soups and sauces.