Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicken Broth

I've stopped buying chicken broth at the store (well, most of the time).  Instead, I make my own out of things I would normally throw away.  Every couple weeks, I make a chicken in my crock pot.  (easiest way to make chicken EVER.  Put a chicken in the crock pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook all day).  When we're done eating the chicken, I put all the bones and skin into the freezer.  At the same time, any time I use carrots, onions, or celery, I keep the ends and peels.  I have a ziploc bag I keep in the freezer full of veggie remnants.  When I get the chance (or run out of broth), I make chicken broth.

Get the biggest crock pot you have and fill it with the bones and skin of two chickens, fill in as many vegetable parts as will fit.  Then, fill the crock with water.  Add some salt, a few bay leaves, and some whole peppercorns.  Cook for 12 hours.  Strain the broth, and let cool.  I portion the broth out into various containers I have laying about, label them, and freeze them.  Then, whenever I need some, I defrost and use.  The hardest part about the whole process is probably the straining.  Or maybe the scrambling to defrost the broth since I always forget to take out of the freezer.

Using broth like this is great for many reasons.  First, you're using things you would normally throw away.  This is good for the environment and economical as well.  Second, the broth is free of all the crap and additives that many broths have (you can even make it low sodium by not adding salt).  Thirdly, you can reduce your exposure to BPA, which is in the lining of many cans.  And fourthly, it's super duper yummy!  And fifthly, it makes your house smell wonderful. 

You can adapt for different broths as well.  Omit the chicken bones for vegetable broth.  Switch the chicken parts for cow parts (I always get "Soup bone" when I order my quarter cow.  I don't really want to know where they come from) to get beef broth, although you may want to roast the beef bones first (it gives it a great smokey flavor).  All-in-all, pretty easy.

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