Friday, February 25, 2011

Homemade Chicken Broth (beef, corn, gluten, peanut & soy free)

First - it's easier than one might think! I typically clean out the last of my root veggies that are in the "eat me or toss me" stage of life. Whatever is in the veggie drawer goes in the pot. I prefer stove top simmering but this can be done just as easily in a slow cooker.

chicken or turkey carcass, skin, fat (I like to keep a glass container for "discard" and one for "eat". Into the discard goes all the skin*, fat*, bones and whatever else I find that I don't want on my plate. Of course the chicken meat goes into the eat one.)
veggies such as:
  • onion
  • celery
  • carrot
  • shallots
  • scallions
  • parsnip
  • garlic
seasonings such as:
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bay leaf
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • nutmeg (only a pinch)
  • paprika
I load my largest pan with all of the above with the items that don't fit whole (such as carrots) roughly chopped. *I buy organic veggies and while I do wash them well, I DON'T peel or skin them b/c most of what goes in the pot will be trash at the end*
Bring it to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and allow it to simmer for as long as you can. 24 hours is good. I sometimes turn mine off and leave it on the stove for overnight (8 hours or less) than bring it back to a rapid boil for a few minutes and back to a simmer for a second day.
I get about 8 cups of good broth from my 5qt stock pot. You can thin it out if you'd like but I like it rich so I fill the pot with water only once and let it go until 1/2 of the water simmers out. I taste it every few hours and adjust spices as needed.

When the broth has reached desired taste I send it through a large colander into a measure cup and/or bowls. This pulls all the veggies, fat, skin and bones. Most of what went into the pot will be pretty much disintegrated and mushy. This time around my carrots were still in good shape and had good flavor so I pulled them from the mush to stick in my soup. They'll disintegrate completely in it which is fine because it's split pea. Most of what goes into that is cooked into nothing. The second time I use a much finer colander to catch the sludge of spices and disintegrated "stuff". If the broth seems very fatty you can let it sit out. The fat will separate and thicken on the top and is easily skimmed off with a slotted spoon or small scoop.

Today I'm using the broth I made yesterday for split pea soup. But it can be frozen in ice cube trays or muffin tins then transferred to a zip top back for later use. If it's pre-frozen in a tray it's easier to thaw out the amount needed rather than have to use the entire batch.

*We buy range free organic chickens. They have very little fat on them. Conventional chickens might be fatty in which case I would NOT include the fat/skin unless you have the time to allow the broth to cool completely so you can skim the excess fat off the top.

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