Tips for making chicken broth for chicken-based soups
When people see a recipe for chicken broth, they will most likely open a can or box of chicken broth from the supermarket. What you may not realize is that making homemade chicken broth is no more difficult than boiling water. The only difference is that you add some vegetables and spices to the water for flavor. Once you’ve made your own chicken broth, you won’t want to go back to canned or boxed broth (except when you’ve run out of homemade broth from your freezer).
The basic ingredients of a good homemade chicken broth are chicken bones (and sometimes skin), onion, celery, carrots, peppercorns, and bay leaves. You can also add parsley, ginger, and thyme. If you prepare rotisserie chicken, save the bones and skin. While doing the dishes after a roast chicken dinner, simply place the chicken bones and skin in a pot, along with some onion, celery, carrots, peppercorns, and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. For a few hours. If you don’t have a roast chicken carcass, you can use chicken tenderloins, chicken wings, or other chicken parts. Once the chicken broth has finished cooking, allow it to cool to room temperature, then strain the broth and divide into containers that can be stored in the freezer.
Once you have a batch of homemade chicken broth, you can either refrigerate the broth if you plan to make some chicken-based soups for the next several days, or freeze it for later. Either way, it is best to remove the fat that floats on the surface. The fat layer is easier to remove when the soup is cold, as it will solidify.
Some of my favorite chicken-based soups are Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Vegetable Rice Soup, Lentil Soup, and Minestrone Soup. The great thing about making your own soup is that you can choose your favorite beans, grains, and vegetables to add, and the sodium level is much lower than store-bought soup.
Homemade chicken broth
1 roast chicken carcass or 2 pounds chicken parts
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 3 “pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 3 “pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 1-inch piece ginger, crushed, optional
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, optional
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, optional
Put all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, covered, for 2 hours. Strain the soup and store it in freezer containers (4-cup containers work well for most soup recipes).
Note: If you use chicken parts like chicken legs and thighs, cook the chicken parts for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. Then, take the chicken out of the pot and remove the meat for a different use. Return the bones and skin to the pot and continue cooking the broth. Chicken meat would be delicious added back to the soup if you make chicken noodle soup, for example.
Copyright 2011 by Jeanette Chen