Beak to Feet – Complete Broth Instruction

Beak to Feet – Complete Broth Instruction

Did you know making chicken broth at home is as simple as simmering water?   And, did you know making a simple homemade chicken broth takes two ingredients?   Water and chicken.   That’s it.  You can definitely do this.

With very little effort, these two ingredients come together to create one of the most delicious creations in your kitchen.  Yes, you can easily buy broth in the store but it will never have the rich flavor created by making your own and it honestly takes like the packaging.  Not good.   The aroma created by a simmering soup pot of broth should be enough to convince you – making homemade broth is the best.

Choose the Right Chicken Parts

To start, choose the right cuts from the best chicken.  The tastiest broth is made with a combination of skin, fat, meat and bone. You can make broth from any part of the chicken, but our favorite cuts are the Necks and Backs from BBF Chicken.  The picture above shows from l. to r., the back (cut into two pieces) and the neck.  These cuts have all the components plus enough cartilage in the necks to provide nourishing gelatin for your broth.  When your broth is complete, you will have richly flavored gelatin infused broth, enough meat for a soup and the best fat for frying eggs and roasting or stir frying vegetables.   Nothing is wasted.

White v.s. Brown

There are two types of broth you can make – white or brown.   The only difference between the two is browning v.s. raw chicken before simmering.   Most often, we simply stew the raw necks and backs and skip roasting or sauteing the parts.   Browning is fine but not necessary and it really depends on your preference.  A delicious broth can be made with raw chicken and water.   If you decide to brown the parts, sear chicken in a heavy skillet or roast in the oven turning over once or twice to get good browning on all sides.  Be sure to deglaze your pan with water after adding parts to your stock pot to gather up all the juices and bits that will flavor your stock.  Your browning pan or pot should look clean after deglazing – leave nothing behind!

How Much Water?

Our rule of thumb is one quart of water for every pound of chicken parts.   Adding too much water will create a diluted broth.   This can be fixed with a longer simmer but we’ve found this ratio is about right.

Removing the Cooked Meat

If you are starting with raw parts, simmer just until the meat is cooked through.  Dark meat is much more forgiving than the white meat – meaning breast meat can easily be overcooked.  If using Necks and Backs, remove the backs only and pick off the meat and reserve.  Return all remaining bones, skin, juice, etc back to stock pot and continue simmering.   You can simmer for an hour, 4 hours or longer – either way will create a delicious broth.  Just keep the pot at a very low simmer.  Most often our pot is partially covered during the simmer.

Strain, Skim Fat, Season

When you decide the broth is ready, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl or stock pot.   The fat will rise to the top on your broth.   Skim and save this fat!  This is a healthy, wonderful fat for pan frying or oven roasting.   It has a clean flavor and is high heat stable.

Bonus!  We’ve found you can add another couple quarts of water to the remaining parts and produce a weaker but still quite nourishing broth.   If nothing else, use it to cook grains such as rice or quinoa, simmer potatoes or thin out sauces or soups.

Your broth will taste thin until you add seasoning – most importantly salt.  The broth will be transformed with the correct amount of salt added.   Go slow and taste after each addition.  The difference between a properly seasoned broth and a plain was is like night and day. Don’t be afraid to salt.

Whenever you prepare chicken for your family, use any remaining skin, bones, etc to make stock.  If you can’t get to it right away, place parts in the freezer and pull out on a quieter day.   The smell of homemade broth and the promise of good food will make your family smile.  Guaranteed.