It may seem time-consuming, but having homemade bone broth at the ready makes an enormous difference in your cooking: both in terms of flavor and nutritive value.
- 1 roasted chicken carcass, including skin, fat drippings, and all bones
- 2 yellow onions, whole
- 3 or 4 big carrots, whole
- 5 or 6 stalks celery, cleaned of dirt
- 1 head garlic, whole
- Herbs and aromatics of your choosing
- Whole black peppercorns
Into the largest stock pot you have, place the chicken carcass and all meaty parts and fill mostly full with cold water, leaving room to add the other ingredients.
Roughly chop the vegetables. By this I mean to cut the onions in half, then each half into quarters or so. Leave all skins on! The same goes for the carrots and celery: big chunks are perfectly fine for this stock, and don’t peel anything. Separate the garlic cloves but leave all papers on and dump the whole thing into the stock pot.
When it comes to herbs and aromatics, use whatever is handy. Fresh is best, but you can use dried herbs as well. For chicken stock I typically use 3 or 4 dried bay leaves, a whole thick sprig of rosemary, a small handful of fresh thyme, oregano and marjoram. Put in about a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns.
Bring the liquid to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer. When the simmering is under control and not spitting over the top put a lid on the pot a little off-center to allow for steam to escape.
This concoction will cook for many hours on low heat, slowing growing more and more golden and flavorful. After a few hours, you can carefully use a potato masher to break up the chick bones into smaller pieces. This will help to get more marrow and nutrients into your broth.
Ideally, this soup will simmer carefully and quietly overnight, but for at least 6 to 8 hours. The longer the better, in terms of deepening the flavors and mineral content.
Once it’s ready to strain, use a slotted spoon to remove the biggest chunks of bone and vegetables, then pour slowly through a colander into another pot to collect the rest of the big stuff. Rinse out the stock pot. Using a fine mesh sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth, slowly pour the stock back into the original pot. It should be golden colored and clear of any vegetable or meat debris. Allow to cool slightly enough to handle.
I like to freeze my stock, as it stores well and freezing will preserve the nutritional value. I will typically use a combination of gallon-sized and quart-sized ziploc bagsfor this purpose. Using a ladle, spoon the broth into the bags (label with name and date) and freeze them flat on a cookie sheet. Once the broth is completely frozen, remove the cookie sheet and now you can just stack your stock until ready for use.
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