Chicken broth is a crucial ingredient in soup making and the flavor of homemade broth is hard to beat. You can double or even quadruple this recipe and freeze the extra so you always have some on hand. If you freeze the broth in ice cube trays, and then transfer the frozen cubes to freezer bags, it’s easy to thaw exactly the amount you need. If you’re short on time and must use canned broth, choose the all-natural or fat-free, reduced-sodium varieties.
Makes about 8 cups
4 lb stewing hen or chicken parts or meaty bones, such as backs and necks3 quarts cold water1-1/4 cups thinly sliced onions1/2 cup thinly sliced celery1/3 cup thinly sliced carrot5 to 6 whole black peppercorns3 to 4 parsley stems1 bay leaf1 sprig fresh thyme2 tsp salt, or to taste
1. Place the chicken and water in a large pot (the water should cover the chicken by at least 2 inches; add more if necessary). Bring the water slowly to a boil over medium heat. As the water comes to a boil, skim away any foam that rises to the surface and discard. Adjust the heat once a boil is reached so that a slow, lazy simmer is established. Cover the pot partially and simmer for 2 hours, skimming as often as necessary.
2. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer, skimming the surface as necessary, until the broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour. (If using hen or chicken parts, remove them and cool slightly. Dice or shred the meat and use to garnish the broth or save for another use.) Discard the skin and bones. Strain the broth through a colander or sieve into a large metal container. Discard the solids.
3. If you are using the broth right away, skim off any fat on the surface. If you are not using the broth right away, cool it quickly by transferring it to a metal container (if it’s not in one already) and place the container in a sink filled with ice cold water. Stir the broth as it cools, and then transfer it to storage containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Label and date the containers clearly before putting them into the freezer.
Some stores sell packages of necks and backs that can be used to prepare broth. This broth also can be made with the carcasses of roasted birds. Save the bones after all of the meat has been pulled or carved away (freeze them if you will not be making the broth within a day or two). You will need the carcasses of about 3 birds.
If the broth is allowed to chill overnight in the refrigerator, the fat will rise to the surface and harden, making it easy to lift away the fat. This broth will then be completely fat free, and will only have the salt that you choose to add yourself. If, after straining the broth, you find the flavor to be weaker than you would like, put the broth back on the stove and boil it down until the flavor has concentrated to your liking.
Recipe from VEGETABLES by The Culinary Institute of America.
This Chicken Broth can be used in the recipe for Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup and Winter Squashes Sauteed with Cranberries & Toasted Pecans.