What am I doing while staying at home?  Why, cooking of course!  After all, I was known at camp as “Libby the Cook”

When I roast a chicken, I use a bit of boiling water to loosen all the browned bits from the roasting pan and pour that lovely brown “water” back in with the chicken.  I do this every time I reheat the chicken for more tasty eating.  By the time I use my carcass for broth, I have a nice amount of protein gel with a lovely deep brown flavor–umami at its best!
The Best Homemade Chicken Broth
  1. In a deep soup pot (or Instant Pot or Slow Cooker), place:
  • 1 chicken carcass with all the yummy browned bits & any leftover roasted skin
  • Ends and outer peels of a large onion (save onion for soup)
  • Tops and leafy parts of celery (save sticks for soup)
  • 2-3 bay leaves (I *may* use 4…)
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • a full head of garlic, peels & all–but crush each clove a bit for extra flavor
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra-dry Vermouth or dry white wine (optional, but the alcohol boils out, and the flavor is lovely!)
  • Water to cover carcass completely

 

2. On the stovetop, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.

3.  In Instant Pot, set lid to Seal, and cook on “Soup” setting, high pressure, 90 minutes. Let steam release naturally.

4. In a slow cooker, Set on high and cook for at least 4 hours. This is the time when your house will smell delicious!
5. Once the broth is cooked, let cool a bit.  Set a large colander into a large bowl.  Strain broth by pouring pot into colander.
Carefully lift the colander out, and hold over a bowl, stapping a bit to get all the broth out.
6. Dispose of remains from the colander.
7. Pour your delicious broth into containers to freeze for future use, or into a deep pot to use for soup-making now!
Tasty chicken soup:
  1. Heat a bit of oil in a deep saucepan.
  2. Saute chopped onion, minced garlic, sliced celery and sliced carrots until beginning to soften.
  3. Add broth.
  4. Set skinless, boneless pieces of chicken into the pot–you can cook them from frozen this way. I am all over anything that reduces prep steps!
  5. Add broth to 2″ from top of the pot, cover.
  6. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
  7. Add any other hard vegetables you want in your soup now (potatoes, yams, celeriac, cabbage, hard squashes), with a can of diced tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle herbs and spices over the top:  garlic granules, paprika, dill, parsley, thyme for a lighter flavor; garlic granules, cumin, curry and your level of cayenne pepper for a deeper flavor.
  9. Use your nose and a spoon for tasting to determine the flavor you want.  Don’t forget to add salt, as it intensifies all the other flavors!
  10. Cover and simmer at least 1/2 hour.
  11. Remove chicken pieces, cut up, return to pot.
  12. Once hard veggies are soft, add other veggies as desired – broccoli, peppers, summer squash, peas, green beans, spinach, kale. etc
  13. Simmer until all veggies are soft enough to eat.
  14. Adjust flavor:  salt a bit more, add a shot of lemon juice, black or white pepper, more garlic (can you tell I love the stuff?)
  15. Fill the bowl and enjoy!
*toppings to add fun to your yummy homemade soup:  toasted pepitas, shredded cheese (that parmesan in a tube is good here!), nutritional yeast, sour cream or yogurt, chopped cilantro.
Hope you enjoy this meal. I know I am using this time at home to do lots and lots of cooking.
Best,
Libby the Cook
Indian Brook ’80-’84

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