Let’s be straight with one another: does the Internet really need another chicken broth recipe? Or roast chicken recipe? Not really. There are probably hundreds of versions you can find. What I’m trying to communicate with this Circle of Chicken series is how to fully use a chicken–to take every part of it and get the full benefit out of it, resulting in 16+ meals. Hopefully this compact set of recipes will help you save money, reduce waste, and–most importantly–eat delicious food!
So you’ve already made your Perfect Roast Chicken and impressed your friends and family. Now it’s time to enter Part 2 of the Circle of Chicken: strip that carcass down and use the bones to make an incredible broth that you can either use right away in soups or risotto, or freeze for later use.
Have you made homemade chicken broth before? If not, you’re in for a treat. Making your own broth is always worth it. Not only is it easy and economical, but canned broth just cannot compare to the rich flavor you’ll develop by making your own. Plus, you’ll know exactly what’s in your broth, and you’ll be able to control the level of salt as needed.
So get out that bird and get personal with it! I used a paring knife and even my fingernails to strip the remaining meat from the bones, chopping it into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces. Ideally, your yield will be about 2 cups. I put mine in a plastic takeout container and put it right in the freezer, and I’d suggest you do the same. Too many times, I’ve kept it in the fridge, with very good intentions to use it up, only to have to toss it a week or two later. Learn from me! Just stick it in the freezer!
While you work, place the bones in a large stock pot. Here’s what else you’ll need:
Chicken neck and giblets (not the liver) from your roast chicken
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2 carrots, broken in half, bases trimmed (or a handful of baby carrots)
2-to-4 stalks of celery, broken in half, bases trimmed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of Italian parsley stems, or a large handful of fresh parsley (I had already used my stems in an earlier bunch this month)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Optional: 1 rind parmigiano-reggiano (I’ve been saving mine in the freezer for just this purpose–it adds a delicious flavor to the broth)
NOTE: This list of ingredients is just a guide–go through your fridge. Leeks, red onion, or green onions could be used. I’ve thrown in a tomato or two that needed to go! However, I’d stay away from strong vegetables like broccoli, as it will overwhelm everything else.
Place all of these ingredients in the pot with your chicken bones and cover them by a couple of inches with water. Place on high, covered, until it comes to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and partially remove the cover. You’ll want it to barely bubble. Your house will be full of the enticing aroma of broth. Drool!
Let simmer for 2-to-3 hours (according to your schedule), stirring occasionally. If a scum rises to the surface, you can skim it off with a slotted spoon, but I rarely bother–it’s only important if you want a crystal-clear broth.
Once your broth has simmered, it should look like this:
Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, transfer into large containers, and refrigerate overnight. My yield was 18 cups. In the morning, any fat will have risen to the surface–skim it off, and use or freeze the broth! I tend to freeze it in 4-cup portions, but the 2-cup size can also come in handy! Basically, you don’t want to have to thaw all of your broth to use some.
So now we’ve completed Part 2 of the Circle of Chicken, but wait! There’s more! Stay tuned for Parts 3 and 4 of the Circle of Chicken, suggestions of what to do with your leftover chicken and broth, up next week!
Do you have questions, suggestions, funny jokes? Post them below!