I'm working from my home studio this morning. It's the perfect morning for making a big pot of broth that I can also freeze and use for bouillon later. I have a child home from school and hope this is just the right food to get him back on his feet. There's nothing like a real broth for soups or adding to sauces. It's that secret ingredient in so many comfort foods.
2 whole chickens, preferably organic
2 large onions
4 celery stalks, cut in long strips or celery root, works well, too.
1 leek, either cut in half or using full lengths for tying the bouquet garni, if desired
3-6 sprigs fresh thyme
3-6 sprigs rosemary
10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 peppercorns
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 gallons cold water
Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. I prepare the herbs in a "bouquet garni," when I'm feeling like taking a little extra time. These packets make their removal easier but, they are not mandatory. Cover the chicken, vegetables, and herbs in cold water. Cook on high and bring to a boil. At this time, turn the heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. Remove the scum from the stock about every 15 minutes for the first hour, later check each hour and remove if necessary. Add hot water, if the water is no longer covering and simmer for 2-4 hours, uncovered, after the 1st hour.
Once the cooking is finished, remove the bouquet garni and strain the broth. Cool, then refrigerate over night. Remove the surface solids and your broth is ready for soups and sauces. It can keep in the refrigerator for a few days but I also, like to freeze it. I freeze some in cup portions and others in small ice cubes to quickly add to everyday cooking.
I mentioned earlier that I like this for broths to fend off winter viruses, but our children don't like straight chicken soup but do, love a Thai twist: I use this broth but add a dash of green Thai curry and use Japanese Udon noodles or add snap peas, julianne carrots as an everyday broth; sometimes coconut milk, as well.
Readers, I love hearing from you both about chicken broth and I agree: onions and garlic are packed with something great to battle these winter bugs. I also like a use for winter vegetables and fresh herbs, too -- add any of these winter veggies to your stock for a well rounded flavor.
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