Because I’m trying to reduce my food waste, and I use chicken broth almost every time I venture into the kitchen, I decided to give it a try. Not only is making your own broth simple, it’s tastier than store-bought, you know exactly what’s in it, you save money, and you find uses for all sorts of food scraps that would otherwise have gone to the landfill.
I started throwing random chicken bones — necks and backbones from whole chickens I cut up, wing tips, even carcasses from my roasted chickens — into freezer bags. Then one lazy Saturday, I went to work. For my first batch, I went with chicken alone — no veggies, but you can toss a wide array of vegetables, herbs, and spices in with the bird to craft broth with your unique flavor profile.
Recipe For Basic Chicken Broth
Recipe adapted from Roasting: A Simple Art by Barbara Kafka
- About 6 pounds chicken meat and bones from cooked or uncooked chickens
- Water to cover by 3 inches
- If using a whole chicken carcass, cut it into manageably-sized pieces.
- Put the chicken parts in a large stockpot, and add water to cover by 3 inches.
- Cover the pot, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat so the liquid is at a slow simmer.
- Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Skim the gross stuff from the top as the liquid boils, and add more water as needed to keep the level above the bones. (The more you skim, the clearer your broth will be.)
- Pour the broth through a sieve into a large bowl or pot, and let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.
- Remove any remaining fat from the surface.
At this point, you can strain the broth again through a dense cheesecloth or other fabric for clearer broth. It will last in the refrigerator for a week, but I highly recommend freezing it in 16 ounce freezer-safe containers. (I bought a slew of them on Amazon to have on hand.) When you need chicken broth, it’s ready and waiting!
If you want to infuse your broth with other flavors (versus going with chicken alone), common additions to the pot include carrots, onions, celery, herbs, salt, and black peppercorns. And this technique is versatile — you can use it to make other broths, like turkey, beef, and vegetable. Use the broth in place of water when cooking rice, barley, or quinoa to amp up the flavor. Or let it serve as the base for a stellar soup or stew.
Have you made your own broths? How do you do it? What do you toss in the pot? Please share your techniques!
Image Credit: jasleen_kaur via flickr/CC