So being down with a cold (or might be flu), I eked out enough energy on day 1 to make a big pot of chicken broth. With that broth I was able to make 3 different soups in 3 days. I am not picky or even 'traditional' in my broth-making. That is to say, if I'm making a broth to eat JUST the broth, I will go all out to make the perfect broth soup. If I was eating the broth by itself, I'd be more picky and traditional and go the route of an actual 'recipe' including fresh herbs and other goodies like parsnips and celery, but when I just need broth to use for other soups, I go this route without all the bells and whistles. Let's put it this way - if I'm making a broth that will be used in soup recipes as one of the ingredients, I am not making a big crazy deal of it all. I mean, if I was to buy it in a box at the supermarket, do you think they made a big hoopla in making it? And do you want to eat it right out of the box? NO. I think not. And let me tell you: this broth, no matter how you make it (bells and whistles aside) is better than most on its own anyway! We add cooked rice and leftover chicken pieces, cooked carrots and peas and whatever else and it's all good.
I roast a lot of whole chickens (average one a week).
I always use the same recipe to roast my chicken which contains only lemons, salt and pepper. It is self-basting. Once we've eaten our chicken dinner, I clean the carcass of as much of the meat as possible, if the chicken was fresh when roasted (not frozen already), I freeze the carcass and the lemons in a freezer bag. I also pour the juices from the pan into a container and freeze that as well. The flavorful juices are used to amp up the flavor of the broth - IT IS HOMEMADE BOUILLON!!! When I have 2-3 carcasses, I make chicken broth.
It goes without saying that I always use organic chicken - local if I can get it. All the ingredients I use in my cooking are organic, and if they aren't, I'll let you know why and what I had to use instead, and then I'll justify it to you (and myself) somehow to make it okay. You will not see me salt my broth because my roasted chickens are well-salted. Feel free to use sea salt if you want, or do what I do and wait until you make the soup and salt to taste!
4-6 onions chopped (you can't use too many really - this is where most of the flavor comes from)
6 large carrots peeled & chopped (you can skip the peeling if they are organic - just wash, dry and chop
1 large HEAD of garlic - you can peel and chop OR just cut end off the whole head and use that way
bunch of parsley
**Optional additional veggies include: roughly chopped celery, parsnips, turnips
2-3 chicken carcasses left over from roasted chicken
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
- Melt butter & olive oil in large soup pot. Brown the chopped onions in the butter/olive oil on medium heat for a LONG time, stirring occasionally - usually 20 minutes until onions are practically caramelized and brown bits are on the bottom of the pot
- While the onions are browning, peel and chop up 6 large carrots -
- When onions are sufficiently golden brown, add the chopped carrots and cook for another 5-7 minutes, giving a stir or two.
- Add the garlic in whatever form you are using it. Add the carcass(es). Fill the pot 3 quarters of the way to top with water. I eyeball the water pot so expect you can too. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Skim off the "foam" that forms on the top of the broth using a large spoon. I simmer my broth for at least 3 hours.
- Allow broth to cool for about a half hour - it will still be very hot. Set a large metal colander over a second large soup pot (doesn't have to be as big as the one you just used). You can cover the colander with cheesecloth as well for a 'finer' broth if you like. Using a ladle or large spoon and tongs, carefully put the carcasses and bits from the soup pot into the colander to drain all of your broth into the pot below. Don't do too much at once! It's HOT! Once you've drained all of your broth into the new pot, allow it to sit for a half hour. Skim most of the fat off the top and then it is ready to use for your soup recipe.
Photo Credit: Eli Dagostino Photographer