Homemade chicken broth
Those of us who like to cook (and eat) know that there is nothing like a pot of chicken broth simmering on the stove top. It perfumes the house with its comforting aroma and is the foundation for countless recipes. It is essential to use an
organic, free range chicken, preferably an older one if you can find it, to achieve the rich flavor that a good chicken broth can deliver.
Portions: Makes 8 to 10 cups-2 to 2.4 l
- 1 organic, free range chicken or stewing hen, 4 to 4 1/2 lb/1.8 to 2 kg
- 2 yellow onions, quartered through the stem end and 2 quarters each stuck with 1 whole clove
- 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-in/5-cm pieces
- 2 celery ribs, with leafy tops, cut into 2-in/5 cm pieces
- Stalks from 1 fennel bulb, cut into 2-in/5 cm pieces (reserve bulb for another use)
- 6 flat leaf parsley springs
- 5 thyme springs
- 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 4 to 5 qt/3.8 to 4.75 water
- Kosher or fine sea salt
Put all the ingredients except the water and salt into a large stockpot. Add the water, pouring in enough to cover the ingredients by about 2 in/5 cm. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, removing any foam that forms on the surface with a skimmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, for the first hour as you continue to skim foam from the surface. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 4 hours, seasoning with salt during the last hour of cooking. The broth is done when it is reduced by about half and has developed a rich, meaty flavor. Strain the broth through a colander lined with damp cheesecloth/muslin into a clean container. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Skim off and discard the congealed layer of fat on the surface before reheating.
The broth may be made in advance and stored in tightly lidded containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Remove the meat from the bones of the chicken, discarding the bones, skin, and any pieces of cartilage or other inedible bits. Discard the onion and fennel stalks. Use the chicken in soups or serve it, together with some of the carrot and celery pieces, drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It makes a delicious light supper.