Broth . . . Importantly

If you want to cook tasty food, be self sufficient and save money, then you really need to learn how to make your own broth.
Poultry or red meat:  it’s pretty much the same process.
You will need the following: herbs and spices, leftover veggies, leftover chicken or turkey carcasses (or steak or lamb bones if you want a dark broth),  and tasty bits, water, salt, a big stock pot, a colander/strainer, cheesecloth (or a loose weave kitchen towel), a stove, and some time.  Oops!  Forgot:  you’ll need some  containers and a freezer!
Making broth is much more of a process than it is a recipe.  If you regularly make broth, you’ll develop a system of saving tidbits, so that you have the perfect ingredients without having to run to the grocery store.
Tidbits to save:
So, to start off on the right foot, set aside a section of your freezer to save those tasty morsels for the broth.  Dump these into a zip bag and toss in without a moment’s thought.  If you haven’t saved any yet, simply add these to the pot when you get going:
  • Onion skins and bits (these give flavor and color)
  • Carrots (even the peels) and celery
  • Fennel trimmings
  • Parsnip (amazing top secret ingredient)
  • Garlic bits and leftovers
  • Chicken and turkey backs, wings, anything left on the plate from your family (refrain from livers, as those cloud the broth–not much of a fan of gizzards, as they impart a different taste)
  • Parsley and cilantro leftovers, such as stems
  • If you’ve been very good, you will have saved your chicken necks and feet!
  • Do not put in potatoes, as they will cloud your broth
Method:
When you are ready to make broth, take all your freezer ingredients and put into a large stockpot.  Add enough COLD water to cover  AND add 1 T of vinegar.  The vinegar helps extract all the vitamins and minerals from the bones.

Bring to a boil.  This is the only time you will boil the broth.  Any fluids in the meat will rise to the surface as gray scum.  You don’t want this in your nice broth.  This is easily skimmed off and given to your dogs as a treat.   If your bird is the carcass of a leftover, then there may not be much to skim off.

Return to heat and bring to a simmer, covered for 4 to 24+ hours.  I usually do about 9 hours on the stove. (You can do the entire process in an Instant pot pressure cooker in 90+ minutes. . . and no need to skim.  You can also use a crock pot for 12+ hours.)

Strain your broth.  First, just through a colander, then again through the cheesecloth or kitchen towel.

Return the broth to heat and continue to simmer for another hour to reduce and develop flavor.  Now is the time to add any herbs or spices.  (If  you add them at the beginning, they may start to turn your broth bitter when cooked for 9 hours.)

Spice Options:

      • 2 star anise
      • 6 whole cloves
      • 1 stick cinnamon
      • 6 allspice berries
      • 3-6 bay leaves
      • 1 T dried rosemary or a large sprig of fresh
      • 1 clump of thyme sprigs
      • 1 t fennel seeds
      • 2 T coriander seeds
      • 1  t cumin seeds
      • 2 t red pepper flakes (makes it hot—be careful)
      • kosher salt (to taste)–add after cooking
Skimming the scum after first boil.

You don’t need to stand around your stove during this. Go about your business, do the laundry, etc.

Strain again to remove your spices.
Let cool in fridge overnight.  The next day any fat will be hardened on the top. Skim this off and give to the dogs.  (And go through all your leftovers from the stock you strained the day before and give the dogs the meat, celery, garlic, and carrots. Do NOT give dogs onions or cooked bones.)
Package the broth into plastic containers and freeze  (when cool).  (NB:  since writing this, I am preferring to store in straight-sided mason jars.  See broth diary.)
Viola!  Broth, Importantly.

 

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