They say chicken soup is good for the soul. In fact, scientific studies have actually proven that chicken soup really is good for you! It’s easy to digest, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Well, the homemade stuff, that is.
What I love about chicken broth is that it helps me waste less food. I hate throwing away kitchen scraps, so, a year or so ago, I stopped. These days, if I cut the tops off celery and the ends off my carrots, they go into a bag. That bag then goes into the freezer. When I’m buying chicken, I always choose bone-in varieties, or better, a whole one that I can de-bone myself. That way, I never run out of bones to make delicious broth with. When I buy chicken, I buy a bunch at once, de-bone and prep it all in one go, and then freeze the meat in quart sized bags and the bones in another set of quart size bags. Once I have three or four bags of veggie ends and three or four bags of chicken bones, I’m ready to make stock.
The great thing about stock is it’s so hard to mess up and so easy to adjust, and if you’re like me and you’re making it out of odds and ends from your freezer, then you’re literally making almost-free food out of almost-nothing. Chicken stock at the store often costs upwards of $2-$3, and you only get enough for one batch of soup. When you make chicken stock at home, you get enough for ten or twelve batches!
Feel free to adjust the recipe to your own tastes. It’s not an exact science. Try adding carrot tops (which pack a lot of flavor!), switching out a regular yellow onion for a red variety, adding more garlic or different spices and herbs to taste, and adjusting the salt quantity. For a smoother broth, you can add a little more fat in the form of butter, but for a less fatty broth, try rendering your chicken fat first and cooking your vegetables down in that. I like to experiment a little each time I make it to discover what works best for me.
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe:
Easy Homemade Chicken Broth
- 1 chicken carcass (or an equivalent amount of bones. You’ll need at least enough to cover the bottom of your stockpot).
- 1 onion, quartered.
- 2 cups carrots, roughly diced.
- 3 cups celery, including the celery tops.
- 2 tbs butter.
- 3 tbs diced garlic.
- 1 bay leaf.
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- 1 tbs thyme.
- 1 tbs coriander.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- A pot big enough to hold all your vegetables and bones – usually about 4-6 quarts.
- Stirring spoon.
- A good kitchen knife.
- Cutting board.
- Gather your ingredients and give all your vegetables a rough chop. If you can, snap open your chicken bones so all the goodies in the marrow can escape into your broth while they’re cooking.
- Melt the butter in the pan on medium-high heat, and add the garlic, the bay leaf, and the vegetables. Cook the vegetables until the onions and celery soften slightly and start to shine.
- Add your chicken carcass or bones and the rosemary, thyme, and coriander. Add enough water to the pot to cover the chicken (about 12 cups), and bring to a rolling boil.
- Boil the vegetables and chicken on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. You should start to see the water turning color by now. Once the 30 minutes are up, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, depending on your stove, and bring the broth to a simmer.
- Simmer the broth for no less than three hours. The longer, the better! Throughout the process, come back and check on your broth. Give it a stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the desired time has passed, strain the vegetables and bones out of your stock and discard them into the trash. Let your stock come to room temperature, and then divide it up into 1-quart freezer containers, pop them in the back of your freezer, and you’re good to go. Your stock should last in the freezer for up to 3 months.