Chicken Broth 101
We are so lucky to have beautiful chicken stock packs from Fog Hollow farm. Their chickens are pasture raised in Walton, Oregon and are full of flavor and nutrition. One wonderful thing about making stock is that it will help you reduce the amount of food waste you produce in your kitchen. Broth is also incredible for your immune system and there could not possibly be a better time to strengthen your immune system.
To begin making broth, you must start squirreling away vegetable scraps in a ziplock bag in your freezer. This includes onion and garlic skins, carrot tops and tips, celery leaves and trimmings, parsnip bits, fennel fronds, leek tops, parsley stems. Some things you do not want to include in this mix: potatoes, beets, winter or summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, or kale stems. Keeping this ongoing bag of vegetable trimmings frozen will minimize the food waste in your kitchen, and add flavor and nutrients to your stock. Collect bones and parmesan rinds in the same manner until you have enough to fill your stock pot.
To add depth to the basic broth roast the bones for at least an hour at 425F. Dry them well before roasting, this will insure that you are roasting and not steaming them. Rub them with a little bit of oil, or if you want a little more of an acidic broth, rub them with tomato paste, and roast them until they are dark brown, not burnt.
Skimming and tending to your broth is essential. I start by placing the bones in a large deep stock pot and submerging them in water, I bring the water to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer, this cleans the bones and any impurities will rise to the top of the broth in the form of foam. Carefully skim the foam off of the top of the broth, this will make it taste better and lead to a clearer broth. This is where the magic happens, as you are learning to make broth, skim and taste it every hour or so, see how the flavors change, how the viscosity evolves, pay attention. If you want the broth to heal someone who is sick, or bring joy and nourishment to those who consume it, this is when you cast your spell.
Once I’ve completed the initial skimming, I add all of the vegetable scraps and any spices I like. I often add bay leaves, black peppercorns and fennel seed, this is not necessary and it’s best to skip this step if you are making a huge batch of broth that will be used in many different recipes. Less seasoning will allow it to be more versatile.
1 chicken stock pack from Fair valley Farm, thawed
Any vegetable scraps (onion skins, garlic skins, carrot tops, celery, parsley, parsnips)
1 tsp whole black peppercorns (optional)
3 bay leaves (optional)
Fill your largest stock pot with chicken bones and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, skim any foam that has risen to the top and add vegetable scraps.Once you’ve discarded the foam, add peppercorns and bay leaves and allow stock to simmer for 6-8 hours; overnight is fine, just keep a lid on it. Remove the stock from heat and allow it to cool before straining. You can discard all of the scraps in your compost. For a lighter stock, allow the stock to cool completely and skim off all of the fat that rises to the surface. I like to keep the fat in my stock, for it results in richness and flavor.