Great Chicken Broth – Easy

Great Chicken Broth – Easy

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 tastes 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

To start, choose the right cuts from the best chicken.

The tastiest broth is made with a combination of skin, 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.   These cuts have all the components plus enough cartilage in the necks to provide nourishing gelatin for your broth.  Other cuts we adore are Drumsticks, Wings and Chicken Feet – all rich in cartilage with enough bone and meat to flavor your stock.    Chicken Feet will give you an incredible amount of gelatin in your final stock.  And, of course, you will always simmer the picked carcass of a whole chicken or the parts remaining after enjoying the meat.   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.   The stock can be used to cook grains such as rice or quinoa and to make a simple pan sauce after cooking meat.   If you have a pot of stock on the stove, guaranteed it will be used!

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, rich 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.

Remove the Cooked Meat

If you are starting with raw parts with good meat, simmer just until the meat is cooked through.  Dark meat is much more forgiving than the white meat – breast meat can easily be overcooked.

If using Necks and Backs, remove the backs only after cooking for 30-40 minutes 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.  Just keep the pot at a very low simmer.  Most often our pot is partially covered during the simmer.

Strain, Skim Fat, Salt

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.

Your broth may 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 broth is like night and day. Don’t be afraid to salt.

Bonus Broth!

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.

Broth for Another Day

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 a freezer bag and pull out on a quieter day.   The smell of homemade broth and the promise of good food will make your family smile.  Guaranteed.