Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mama-made-easy: Chicken Broth

Making my own chicken stock is a passion with me. Seriously. Don't know how I could get so worked up over chicken broth? Well in case you haven't noticed I'm passionate about a lot of things, lol! So you are fully warned, I'm going to do my best to persuade you to be passionate about chicken broth too. First of all, if it's made right it has all sorts of wonderful health benefits, and from the food scraps you would have thrown away you can make a food that is almost as nutritious as the meat originally was. The healthier and better quality your chicken is to start with the better it will be for know the old adage "you are what you eat". The second thing that really gets me worked up about chicken broth is that you can make it from food scraps you would have thrown away. Are you hearing me here? You can take trash and turn it into this amazing golden broth. Which brings me to the next reason I'm so crazy about this stuff: it tastes soo much better than the average stuff at the store. In fact in good enough that you could just pop it in a mug and curl up on the couch sipping it, especially if you have a cold. And last of all it adds delicious flavor to anything you cook. You can add it to the water you cook your rice in, to soups, and sauces. I'm constantly finding new ways to use it. Oh wait! I've thought of one more reason to love it. It helps you save money on the grocery bills. Take some of this broth, add some diced garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Bring to to a boil and slowly stir in a beaten egg and you have a filling egg drop soup for lunch. How cheep is that? Or add any veggies chopped up with dried beans and just a little bit of meat even. You get the idea? It really helps you provide nutritious meals on a little money.So now hopefully I have converted you to the idea of broth making and your just dying to know how I do it :) You can make broth from fresh chicken (uncooked) or from the bones left over from cooked chicken (though you probably wouldn't want to use chicken that was cook with sauce). If you are using the left over chicken bones it will taste richer if you either use more than one chicken (you can keep the bones in the freezer until you have another one or are ready to make it) or use less water. Brown the bones in the pan before you cover them in broth to bring out more flavor. There are also All you have to do is cover it with water and either put it on the stove on the very lowest setting or in your crock-pot. Then add some veggies and or spices to it. I don't like to spice or salt by broth much so I am free to add flavorings to anything I am cooking with it, and make sure I'm not over salting. I save all my carrot peels, onion and garlic ends and papers, the tops of tomatoes, the stems from fresh herbs, and the hand centers of lettus in a container in the freezer (the only things you WON'T want to use is anything in the cabbage family-broccoli etc- or anything in the potato family). Celery is especially a wonderful addition. I'm not crazy about it fresh, but it lends a truly lovely flavor to broths. Add about a table spoon of vinegar or white wine and that will help break down some of the bone marrow and minerals in the bones and add to the broth's nutritional value, and if you have the time break a few of the bones too. I saw at a leg bone with a pair of kitchen scissors until I can snap it. Don't let the broth come to a boil, and let it simmer as long as you can. I usually leave mine for eight hours. Then let it cool and remove all the "stuff", veggies and bones, and thrown them away. -Funny story, once The Man was helping me in the kitchen and misunderstood my directions and poured the broth down the drain after meticulously picking everything out of it. It didn't help that I was pregnant, nauseous, and really in the mood for chicken soup, lol. I've learned to speed up this process by setting a colander in a larger bowl and poring the broth in and then throwing away everything left in the colander.I take some of the broth and freeze it in large containers (old yogurt containers seem to be a good size for me) and take the rest and freeze it in ice cube trays, which is typically about two tablespoons, so it is easy to add to a little to cooking rice and other dishes. That's it. I hope I've talked you into giving it a try. And with all the roasted turkeys out there after Thanksgiving might just be the perfect time to try your hand at some turkey broth. Blessings!c

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