Saturday, July 10, 2010

Homemade Chicken Broth

I made chicken tonight.

Clarification - I made a WHOLE chicken tonight. By myself.

Why would I do such a thing when I can easily pay for the convenience of a package of chicken breasts? I wanted chicken broth and to get chicken broth, you need a lot more of the chicken. Plus I'm becoming quite the resourceful cook!

I was googling recipes for the broth and came across some good recipes for the whole chicken. Tonight, I made a recipe from Food Network's website. Check it out here:

The ONLY modification that needed to be made was the butter substitution. I've been stocking my fridge with Crystal Farms Dairy Free 70% Vegetable Oil Spread. They have a really long shelf life (er...refrigerator life....) so my fridge is pretty full. It is an easy one-to-one swap for anything calling for butter.

The recipe was really easy to follow and pretty basic. I just need to buy a turkey baster so I can "occasionally baste chicken with pan juices." There's no room for a spoon in the 8x8 cake pan I was using! Maybe I should invest in a bigger pan...I had to put the veggies in another 8x8 cake pan. They were still good, but I'm sure the chicken juices would have given them an extra kick. I also skipped on the sauce - although it seems quite tasty - I didn't feel that it was necessary considering the cooked chicken is going to become a part of several smaller meals.

I had chicken and veggies for dinner and then I started removing the meat from the chicken. My carving skills are non-existent at this point, so I resorted to pulling the meat off with my (clean!) hands. Make sure the chicken is cool before doing this... (Also, make sure to pull the meat thermometer out of the chicken with an oven mitt - metal is hot!!!) I have all of my chicken in a container in the fridge waiting to become a part of a few other delicious to-be-determined meals.

For the broth, I put the chicken carcass and fat, a bay leaf, an onion (quartered), two cut-up carrots and some salt and celery salt (I ran out of celery so thought this might be good?) in a wire mesh strainer in my new stock pot. I measured out 10 cups of cold water and let the water boil. Then I covered and simmered for an hour. After the broth cooled down a little, I started portioning it out into smaller containers. Last time I made broth with a friend (he cooked the chicken - I watched in amazement), we filled the containers and then froze them. Since so many recipes call for 1 cup of broth, I decided to fill square zip lock containers with only 1 cup. After they freeze, I hope to combine two cups into one container, separated by plastic wrap to save valuable freezer space. I have a few cups of broth set aside for soup. Chicken, rice, and vegetable soup, perhaps?

Since I now have fresh homemade broth, I decided I could toss the box of chicken broth I had in the fridge since I hosted a dinner party in February. I'm glad I did! I looked at the label and it said to use within 10-14 days and it contains gluten! No wonder so many gf people make their own I need to add things made with other people's chicken broth on my proceed-with-caution mental list.

What goes in your broth? Or do you have a favorite brand?

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