How to Make Chicken Broth
Nothing can soothe you better than a homemade chicken broth. You can always use chicken broth cubes in your recipes. However, no commercially-available chicken broth will ever compare to the flavor and the nutrient profile of homemade chicken broth. So, how do you make this nourishing and comforting food?
Stock or Broth?
There are people who interchange chicken broth with chicken stock. Both feature chicken as the principal ingredient. However, there are differences between the two.
For starters, chicken broth almost always uses the flesh or meat of the chicken. This gives the broth a subtler flavor. Most recipes today also use bony parts to give it a richer flavor. The main difference between a stock and a broth is the length of cooking. In general, chicken broth requires a cooking time of less than 2 hours.
On the other hand, chicken stock requires the use of the bony parts of the chicken. Most chefs will use chicken wings and feet. Others will use the ribs as well as the back of the chicken. Because chicken bones are a crucial component of the stock, this results in a liquid that has more chicken flavor. The marrow and other minerals from the bones get incorporated into the liquid. Combined with the spices and herbs of your choice, this can result in a richer flavor and a fuller mouth feel. Plus, it also gets cooked for up to 6 hours. This infuses all the flavors of the ingredients into the liquid.
Always go for whole chicken if you want depth of flavor in your broth. The different parts of the chicken have different flavor profiles. For instance, the legs and thighs have a stronger meaty flavor than the breast. The wings also provide a different kind of flavor profile. You will be able to extract all of the different flavors if you use whole chicken instead of its individual parts. If possible, go for organic chicken. Its flavor is more intense.
The Other Ingredients
The classic chicken broth recipe calls for a mirepoix – a combination of carrots, onions, and celery. However, you should not limit your broth to using only these ingredients. Try adding parsley, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Some home cooks also use peppercorns to give the broth a hint of ‘heat’.
Quick and Easy Chicken Broth Recipe
This recipe is as easy as dropping your favorite chicken broth cubes in boiling water. You can have a fantastic broth in less than an hour. The secret is in the use of boiling water to help speed up the process.
- 4 lbs of wings, backs, and legs, cut into 2-inch sizes
- 1 piece of large yellow onion
- 2 quarts of water
- 2 pieces of bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Olive oil
- Chop the onion and set it aside. Boil the water.
- Get a stock pot and pour a tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Transfer the onion into a bowl.
- In the same pot, add half of the sliced chicken. Sauté the chicken pieces until they are no longer pink. Transfer the chicken into the same bowl with the sautéed onions. Repeat the procedure with the remaining chicken.
- Return both the chicken and the sautéed onions into the pot. Lower the heat and cover the pot. Let the chicken cook in its own juice for 20 minutes.
- Increase the heat and add the boiling water. Add the salt and bay leaves.
- Simmer the chicken for 20 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the stock pot to remove browned bits.
- Once done, pour the broth through a large sieve lined with paper towel. It would be best to use cheesecloth instead. Press the bits of chicken other ingredients to extract the full flavors of the ingredients into the broth. You can use a wooden spoon for this.
- Serve the broth in small bowls.
Full-Flavor Chicken Stock Recipe
For those who seek a more flavorful chicken broth recipe, then you’ve got to devote more time. The longer you simmer the chicken and the other ingredients, the more concentrated the flavors become. This recipe calls for a 4 to 5 hour wait. However, you can always shorten it to 3 hours if you don’t have that much time.
- 1 whole chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 large piece of carrot, sliced into 2-inch long segments
- 1 large piece of yellow onion, cut into 4
- 1 piece of large celery rib, sliced into 2-inch long segments
- Celery tops
- A bunch of parsley
- 1 piece of bay leaf
- 1 stalk of leek
- 6 quarts of water
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Olive oil
- Get a stock pout and pour the olive oil. Heat the oil and brown enough chicken pieces to cover the bottom of the pot over medium high heat. Once browned, you can add the remaining chicken slices. Stir the chicken and cook through. Make sure that no chicken slice is still pink.
- Add the carrots, celery, onions, leek, parsley, and bay leaf. Pour water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to let it simmer.
- Remove any scum that floats to the surface of the stock. You can use a large spoon to skim off the scum. Continue simmering the stock for 4 to 5 hours. Do not cover the pot while simmering.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bits of chicken and the rest of the ingredients. Put them in a large colander and press the back of a large spoon on the ingredients. These will extract the remaining flavors of these ingredients.
- Get a large bowl and place a sieve with very fine mesh. You can also use cheesecloth for this purpose. Pour the chicken stock through the cheesecloth or the sieve. This will help remove any solids that remain.
- You can pour the chicken stock in glass jars. If you want a more flavorful stock, then you can boil it again for about an hour or so. Reduce the volume of the stock by half. This gives you a very concentrated form of stock.
Making homemade chicken broth is easy. You only need the finest chicken, a few ingredients, and a couple of hours of simmering.