Nothing is more comforting than a delicious bowl of chicken soup. So many of us have wonderful memories of the aroma and flavor of chicken soup. No commercially canned soups invoke that nostalgia. More importantly, none of those can compare to the rich flavor of homemade chicken stock with no preservatives!
So many recipes include chicken stock / broth that it’s fantastic to simply reach in your pantry or freezer and grab some of your very own chicken stock that you made from scratch!
Making your own stock is so simple. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll remember all of the ingredients and how to do this by memory! Yes, it may take longer to make than the time it takes to run to the store and back. But while the stock is brewing on the stove for hours, it’s a great time to catch up on the things that you love or do some chores around the house or yard if you prefer.
Chicken stock is also so inexpensive to make! You gotta love that! Homemade chicken stock certainly costs less overall than what you pay in a store for the canned stuff or boxed stuff.
It feels so good knowing that you’ve made a stock that’s so healthy for your loved ones and yourself! Too long to list in this post, here are some of the health benefits of homemade chicken stock! It will blow your mind
Some people call it chicken ‘stock’ and others call it ‘chicken broth’ and now it’s very popular and hip to say ‘chicken bone broth’. For my family, it’s simply ‘broth’ or ‘brodo’ in Italian. Nothing fancy, but totally yummy! And either broth or stock can be used interchangeably in recipes.
With a Variety of Recipes Available, This is My Family’s Traditional Recipe!
What I want to emphasize is that all stocks and broths are open to interpretation and preferences of flavor. For example, I include the basic ‘soffrito’ of celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. And Italian parsley! You can chop those veggies up if you prefer, but it’s ok to just plop them in unchopped as well.
I’m sharing my family’s ‘very old’ traditional chicken stock/broth recipe that we make at least 6 times every year. Three of those batches of chicken stock are made fresh for the Tortellini in Brodo (Tortellini in Broth) for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. My family’s lives would never be complete without this northern Italian traditional specialty!
If you like a tomato, peppercorns, bay leaf, or oregano, etc. then add any of those. Just remember to avoid adding strong tasting ingredients that will overpower the simplicity of the stock/broth. But what I’m sharing is my family’s recipe.
How to make your own chicken stock
So let’s get to the kitchen! Start by laying out the ingredients.
- either a whole chicken or already cut up chicken pieces
- soup bones
- carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and parsley
- a very tall pot of water
Fill up a LARGE deep pot halfway to 2/3rds full of water. Make sure that you have enough room from the top of the pot to put the rest of the ingredients in without overflowing the water.
Put all of the ingredients into your tallest pot. Here’s a link to help you with that, because I cannot tell you how many times I have used this pot. I truly cannot cook in big batches the way that I do without this pot! I gave this pot to my daughter for a gift and she uses it constantly!
Add the chicken, beef and soup bones. Fill up the pot a little more until about 3 inches from the brim so that it doesn’t boil over onto the stove.
Don’t add any seasonings such as salt or peppercorns at this time because they strengthen during the cooking process and may be too powerful at the end . . . when you can’t take the seasonings out.
Bring the pot to a boil, cover the pot with a lid, and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer until the beef is tender. Allow everything to do their low and slow magic for 3 – 4 hours. Continually return to check on your creation, stirring each time. At the same time, take a fine-mesh strainer and remove any junky stuff that rises to the top.
That’s how simple it is!
Enjoy that memorable aroma as the chicken stock slowly simmers!
Take all of the ingredients out of the broth with a hand strainer.
Strain the cooked stock/broth through a very thin tea towel covering a colander/strainer. Pour the cooked broth through both the thin towels and colander into another pot . . . this is the part that seems to be a lot of work and usually needs two people to do this. But it doesn’t take that much time at all.
Be careful, the broth is very hot while you do this!
Continue to strain the broth into clean tea towels about two more times until the broth is completely clear and free of any ingredient remains.
Taste, and add more salt to taste.
Chill the chicken stock / broth in the refrigerator overnight to allow the fat to solidify and rise to the top of the surface. At that point, skim off the fat with a spoon and discard it.
Don’t be surprised if your stock has a thicker consistency than store-bought varieties. This thickness comes from the collagen extracted from the chicken bones. This enhances the flavor and texture of the stock, giving more richness than the canned stuff.
Your delicious results! Golden chicken stock as fresh as it could be and without any preservatives!
Use the broth immediately or pour it into plastic containers or freezer bags (LINK) to freeze. (If using containers, be careful to not fill them all the way to the top. Leave some room for expansion). Label with date, freeze, and use as needed.
Or do a little bit of both: freeze some and enjoy some in a great recipe!
TIPS for Making Chicken Stock / Broth
- Keep a bag in the freezer for vegetable scraps. These parts normally get tossed, but they still have flavor that would work great in a stockpot. When the bag gets full, use the contents to make stock (adding more if needed) and stick the empty bag back in the freezer to fill up again. Such a simple way to stretch ingredients.
- A regular-size can of broth is 1-3/4 cups, so freeze in that size if you are just transitioning from canned to homemade.
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- One 6-pound chicken (hen)
- 1 package (beef) soup bones (if you can get them)
- 1 4-pound beef roast
- 3 carrots, cut in 3's
- 1 large onion, cut in 1/4's
- 3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds
- 1/4 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
- Give the chicken a nice bath (clean it) and empty the contents of the cavity inside. If using a chicken already cut up, then no need to empty the cavity, but do give the pieces a good rinse.
- If using a whole chicken, cut it up into large pieces so that it cooks a little bit faster than if you cook it whole.
- Cut up all of your veggies.
- Cut your beef roast up into about 2 or 3 large sections.
- Fill a LARGE deep pot halfway - 2/3rds full of water. Make sure that you have enough room from the top of the pot to put the rest of the ingredients in without overflowing the water.
- Put all of the ingredients into the pot of water.
- First set the stove heat on high and bring the chicken stock to a boil. Once boiling, immediately lower the heat and simmer until the beef is tender.
- Simmer for 2 - 3 hours.
- During this simmer, continually remove any junky stuff that rises to the top with a strainer.
- Remove all of the ingredients out of the broth with a hand strainer. Save the edible pieces of meat and vegetables for another recipe, sandwiches, or chicken salad!
- With very thin tea towels covering a colander/strainer, pour the broth through and into another pot......this is a lot of work and usually needs two people to do this.
Be careful, the broth is very hot while you do this!
- Continue to strain the broth again for a second time. Pour chicken stock into clean tea towels until the broth is completely clear and free of any ingredient remaining.
- Taste, add more salt to taste. You may also add Better Than Bouillion Chicken Flavored bouillion for a stronger chicken flavor (use this because I find that the chickens today aren't very flavorful).
- If you make this the night before, refrigerate it, and then the next day, skim off any fat/grease from the top (it will solidify in the frig and be very easy to remove).
- A Step-by-Step Photo Guide is on my blog to help you make this delicious Chicken Broth!
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