Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicken Broth

You could say I'm a bit of a recipe-aholic!  I love to read different recipes, and I collect them by the hundreds, even recipes I know I'll never make.  One must have fifty different salsa recipes!While recipe hunting this week, I read two on  One was a pork shoulder recipe, and the other was a chicken pasta recipe.  While reading the recipes, I became annoyed at the waste of the authors.  In both recipes, the authors indicated that cooks should discard perfectly good parts.  I'm not sure why it upset me so much - it could perfectly well be hormones - but I felt that the authors should encourage their audiences to not only reduce waste in the kitchen but also to use solid bases in recipes, like using homemade chicken stock.  Making your own chicken stock isn't nearly as difficult as it sounds, it's also a million dollars cheaper than buying stock in the long run, and you have complete control over the ingredients.  Packaged foods that have "spices" listed as an ingredient usually have gluten, soy, or msg in them.  Plus, it tastes fantastic. Packaged stock taste like dishwater in comparison.
Here is my super easy recipe for chicken stock:
Chicken bones, skin, fat, blood, ect  (to acquire this, keep a bowl or bag in your freezer.  When cooking chicken, place either cooked or uncooked chicken "waste" in the bag.  When you have enough to fill your crock pot, get ready to make stock)
Vegetable peelings (you should not use vegetables that are rotting or gross.  You can use things like carrot peels, celery leaves, onion and garlic paper, ect.  Make sure to use mild flavored vegetables like carrots, celery, summer squash, baby turnips, mild greens like spinach, ect.  You can save your veggie scraps in the same bag as the chicken parts)
One small onion chopped
2-3 peppercorns
Herbs (like parsley, bay leaf, celery seed, chive.  Use small amounts and experiment)
Dump everything into your crock pot and turn to high.  Add enough water to cover the chicken.  You want the crockpot to be at least 3/4 full, or it won't run properly.  I use a 3 quart crockpotand it holds one picked-clean chicken carcass, a cup or so of vegetable scraps, and a small onion.  If you have a larger crockpot, I envy you.  Use a larger onion and more scraps. 
Cover, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for at least 8 hours or overnight.  I like to start mine right before bed and leave running all night.  
When done, turn crockpot off and remove lid.  Let sit for 30 minutes or so, until the pot is somewhat cool.
Place a very large bowl in your sink and place a colander inside.  Carefully (using good hot pads) dump the stock from the crockpot into the bowl.  Pick up colander, and let drain for a minute.  Press a large spoon against the cooked scraps until the remaining liquid is drained.  Discard scraps (If you live in Seattle, you can add the scraps to your yard waste bin).
Place bowl in the fridge for several hours, until the stock thickens and the fat has solidified on the top.  Using a large metal spoon, scrape off the fat .  If you'd like, you can save the fat in a glass jar.  Keep it in your fridge for a month or in the freezer for 3 months.  It tastes fantastic on toast, or as the primary fat used in homemade french fries.
You can use the broth right away, or it will keep in the fridge for about a week.  You can also freeze the broth.  It should keep at least 4 months.  I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays, which are about 2 tablespoons for each cube.  I've also seen people freeze broth in their muffin pans, which are about 2/3 cup per cube.  You can also freeze in plastic bags or containers.
I'll post pictures the next time I make broth.


  1. I love making my own stock. I just made a batch of veggie stock, and also some turkey stock (made a turkey in the crock last week). I like your idea about storing chicken scraps in the freezer. I can never think of how to store them until I'm ready to make stock, so I throw them out more often than not.
    I've decided I can no longer tolerate onions...found this out after making my big batch of stock :( At least, I think it's the onion. Will have to do some testing. So, if you can think of good onion substitutes, lemme know. I'll also have to experiment and see if onion powder gets along better with me.
    Hope all is well :)

  2. If you have problems with onion, you might also have problems with shallots, leeks, and garlic. If not, any of those will work as a substitute. They're just all related, so you might have problems with all of them.

    Everything is fantastic here! I hope Utah is warming up. It's still cold and wet in Seattle, but we expect that :)