Just when you thought that Costco chickens couldn’t possibly be a better deal than they already were ($4.99 for a whole roasted chicken), wistfully looking at the picked-clean chicken bones before you and remembering the delicious meal you just had, you suddenly get the bright idea to use those bones to make delicious, home-made chicken broth. Tasty and cost effective!
The idea is simple: simmer the bones in water for an extended amount of time, allowing some water to evaporate and the nutrients from the bones to become concentrated into the remaining broth. To add additional flavor, you can also add other vegetables and spices.
Typically, I’ll start by boiling a huge pot of water on the stove, over a large flame. Someone had the good idea to also use a large strainer inside of the huge pot, to more easily collect all of the large solid ingredients to be discarded later. I’ll also toss in a few vegetables, like garlic, carrots and onions. These ingredients don’t need to be chopped too finely, because it’ll all disintegrate into the broth in the end anyway. I’ve also started keeping a bag of vegetable discardings in the freezer, to be used to make a stock.
Then, I add the chicken carcass – bones, leftover meat, whatever – to the boiling water, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. From time to time, every fifteen minutes for the first hour or so, I’ll skim off the fat and oil from the surface. After about four hours or so, then I’ll strain the remaining liquid into a separate bowl, wait for it to cool, and then transfer to a container for storage. I read that refrigerated stock is good for only a few days, but can last much longer in the freezer.
-Monday, May 16, 2011: total time, about 4-5 hours
-Wednesday, October 19, 2011