As a matter of routine, I periodically devote stove time and frig and freezer space to making and having on hand homemade chicken broth. It’s one of a cook’s best friends.
True, it’s a bit of a magillah. You have to gather and assemble the ingredients and tend to the cooking off and on for about 45 minutes while the liquid comes slowly to a boil then slowly settles down to a steady low simmer. After cooking gently for a further hour, the broth must be cooled, this will take another 30 minutes, before straining and refrigerating. I am convinced it’s all quite worth it.
Over the years I have simplified down to essentials with minimal elements: chicken, just a few alliums–onion and garlic, no carrot because it sweetens the broth in a way I don’t care for, a sprig or two of fresh thyme, and optional fresh ginger for global sparkle. After a relatively brief cooking, the result is a pure, light chicken broth, the ultimate cook’s helper for braising liquids, sauces, and soups in any language.
Ingredient Notes: *The chicken foot, see it in the photo on the far right among the other chicken parts, is not a must, but it’s a plus. It adds the gelatin element that enriches the broth without clouding it. Find chicken feet in an “old-fashioned” butcher’s or Chinatown or a Mexican carniceria.
**I prefer filtered water because it has reduced chlorine and metals such as mercury, thus is better for your health, and tastes way better. I use an inexpensive counter top Brita water filtration pitcher because it saves on plastic water bottles, thus is more eco-conscious.
Makes 3 to 3 1/2 quarts
4 pounds chicken parts, such as wings, backs, legs, and a foot or two if possible
1 small onion, cut in half, no need to peel
2 cloves garlic, left whole, no need to peel
1 x 1-inch piece fresh ginger, no need to peel (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 cups water, preferably filtered
1. Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Partially cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, about 30 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming two or three times to insure a clear broth. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
2. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-quart or larger container. Discard the solids and divide the broth into various size containers, as desired. Without covering, place the container(s) in the refrigerator and chill until cold and the fat has risen to the top. Without disturbing the layer of fat on top (it acts as a sealant) cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
3. To use the broth, if frozen, defrost it at room temperature or in a microwave without letting it boil. Whether previously frozen or refrigerated, remove and discard the fat layer and continue with your recipe.