Making broth from scratch

I’ve been feeling tired the last couple of days, and I’ve been frequenting parenting boards more than usual since it’s easier to be online than to be actually doing stuff when I’m this exhausted. Tonight I just have had enough. It’s like a huge ocean of lousy parenting suggestions. :(

So I decided to shift mental gears and instead of writing about parenting I’ll share with you how to make chicken stock. Especially in the winter when kids aren’t feeling good, it’s great to have some germ fighting chicken soup on hand! Lots of people think that making chicken stock from scratch is hard and think that adding soup mix is necessary to give it flavor. I don’t know where this idea came from, since there’s nothing much easier than homemade stock. My kids make ours on a regular basis, and every time, it is delicious! I had a couple of turkey carcasses in the fridge today, and this is the perfect use for them.

Put the chicken/bones/whatever you are using in the pot, covering it with at least a couple of inches with water. Some people like to skim it after bringing it to a boil, to make the soup clearer, but I stopped doing that years ago. Once it is boiling, add your veggies – onions, garlic, parsnip, carrot, celery, turnip, rutabaga, squash, tomato – use as many or as few of these in combination as you like. Personally, we use most of the veggies listed – they make for an incredibly rich flavor. Just peel the vegetables and pop them in the pot; don’t worry about chopping them up.

Once the soup is boiling again, turn it all the way down and let it simmer, for hours. I sometimes start a large pot before I go to sleep, and leave it on the lowest setting overnight. When I wake up, the house smells amazing and there is a delicious pot of soup waiting for us. The long cooking time is really important in giving the flavors a chance to meld and deepen.

If you want to put a couple of tablespoons of vinegar in when it’s cooking, that will help leach vitamins from the bones and adds to the nutritional value. I like to use Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar for this. If you don’t, it will still be good for you. Some people also like to let it cool in the fridge once it’s finished cooking and then skim off the fat from the top so the broth is clear- I don’t do this, but just in case it’s something you want to try, I’m mentioning it.  Then you can put the fat that you skim off in the fridge and use it to cook with!

When it’s finished, I take out the carcass, and take all of the turkey meat off of it. Then I use it in a turkey pot pie for another night’s dinner. I end up with so much soup that we have soup as a first course for one meal, and then later in the week, add rice to whatever soup is left for a hearty lunch meal. Amazing how much good eating can come from a turkey carcass that most people would throw away!


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