October 10, 2011

Chicken Broth

When I sat down to write this post I thought I should poke around online and try to find out what the difference is between stock and broth. I've heard lots of different things before, like that one has bones and the other doesn't, or that one has vegetables and the other doesn't. I just wanted to clear it up in my own mind, once and for all. So I googled it. And do you know what I found out?I found out that a lot of other people have asked this same question.

And although some sources out there claim to know the answer, I don't think that they really do.

So here's what I decided... it doesn't matter. It's stock. It's broth. It's stockbroth. And no matter what you call it, it's handy to have around.

I like to keep plenty of stockbroth in my pantry. I've talked about something I call seasonal stock here before. And I've talked about a roasted pork broth, too.

Today I'm talking about chicken broth.You've probably made chicken broth before. But I am blogging about it anyway because I want to.

My eyes popped right out of my head when I noticed the price of chicken broth at the store the other day. Holy cow. (Or should I say, "holy chicken?") And I realized just how much more value you get even if you purchase the chicken meat.

(By the way, I would be lying if I claimed to have never bought chicken at the store myself. True confession: at the moment I only have a few little laying hens and I don't want to butcher any of them so I recently purchased chicken at the grocery market myself.)Relax, girls.

Chicken broth can be made out of any cuts of chicken. Usually I pick through the pieces and slice some meat off the bones and freeze it for times I want to use deboned chicken in a recipe. Then I simmer the leftover bones (with meat still on them because I'm not a very good chicken cutter). One whole chicken (or package of inexpensive cuts) will yield pieces of deboned chicken, some bits of simmered chicken that you pull off the bones after simmering the broth, and all the broth you can stand.

But chicken broth can also be made from a leftover roasted chicken. Just simmer the carcass after most of the chicken meat has been picked off. This makes an especially flavorful broth.

Sometimes, when I've had a mean old tough rooster, I have thrown him in the pot whole after he's been butchered and cleaned. (I hope this kind of talk doesn't turn anybody off... hello? Vegetarians? Are you still there?)

Anyway, for anyone who is still willing to keep reading, making broth is incredibly easy. Put your chicken pieces into a pot. Cover with water. Add some vegetables if you're an overachiever. (I don't usually add vegetables and I'm definitely not an overachiever.) Then simmer it for a few hours.Later, after it has cooled, skim the fat, remove the chicken parts, and strain the broth. I leave it unsalted.

At this point in the process I usually have an interested audience watching me in the kitchen.The strained broth can be frozen or pressure canned. To can it, pressure process quarts of broth for 25 minutes at the correct pressure for your altitude. I like to can broth in various sized jars so I can always grab whatever amount I need.The National Center for Food Preservation has a nice guide for making and canning stocks and broths here. They have a very informative site that's worth visiting.

The Ball company also has a nice site and they have shared their directions for making stocks and broths here. And of course there's their Ball Blue Book which is a great guide to home canning. I also like the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.


Linda said...

Thank you so much for sharing this....I boiled chicken the other day and had lots of broth from it and I wondered how I could keep the broth for soups this winter.....now I know!

Candy C. said...

Great post and I love your interested audience! :)
I have recently started boiling bone-in chicken breasts with some onions, carrots, celery and seasonings to use for chicken salad and I have been straining and freezing the broth for soups this winter. Great word "stockbroth!"

homegrown countrygirl said...

Linda ~ You'll be so glad that you saved your broth! (I like your cute little picture of all those pumpkins!)

Candy C. ~ You're an overachiever adding those vegetables to your stockbroth! I bet it's especially delicious!

MARARIA said...

That chicken broth is delicious, I use to make it with celery, carrots, leek a piece of onion and garlic cloves and I freeze it like Candy.

Thanks for sharing it.

homegrown countrygirl said...

MARARIA ~ That sounds like especially tasty broth!!