Chicken broth is something I’ve had a love/hate relationship with. We use it for so many recipes but I hate paying for the good stuff at the store.
So I decided I would try to make my own chicken broth after reading Mandi Ehman’s e-book Easy Homemade. I was so delighted with the results, I plan to use this for chicken broth for all my recipes.
I started with a whole fryer chicken. I buy these when Kroger has them on sale for $0.88 per pound. That normally works out to about $3.00, which gives me enough chicken meat for 3 meals plus the broth.
First, I took 1 onion, 1 pound carrots, and 1 pound of celery and roughly chopped them into 1-2″ pieces. I didn’t peel the carrots either so this was a quick process. I placed them in the bottom of the crock pot. Then I added the chicken, 1 tbsp. peppercorns, and a splash of apple cider vinegar (that helps leech the nutrients from the chicken bones and don’t worry you won’t taste the vinegar). Next, I filled the crock pot with cold water and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours.
After that time passed, I removed the chicken, shredded the meat, and saved it. I returned the bones to the pot and allowed it to cook for another 8-12 hours. Ehman’s recipe says 24 hours but my crock pot cooks so hot I can’t let it cook that long without losing lots of liquid.
Then I got jars ready – old spaghetti sauce jars, old salsa jars, and old canning jars. I also located my canning funnel and a flour sifter. The flour sifter isn’t ideal but since I don’t have any cheesecloth or mesh strainer it’s all I had.
Then after 8-12 hours, I ladeled the broth through the sifter through the funnel into the jars. I left 1″ space at the top of the jars because the broth that I freeze will expand. After I got all of the broth out, I filled the crock pot up again with water and repeated the same process. Twice. Yes, I was skeptical that I could get three crock pot fulls of chicken broth from this recipe but I did. I could tell that the broth was a lighter color in the final batch than the first but overall it was still a deeper, richer color than store bought broth.
The results, I love it! And the active amount of time it takes is very minimal. The process itself does take a couple of days so if you work like I do, choose a weekend.
I also had to add salt to the broth since it didn’t have any, but I liked how I could control the salt depending on the recipe.
I also had to decide whether to skim the fat off the top once it cooled or not. I chose in my white chili to keep some for a richer flavor and discard the rest. It will depend on the recipe.
This recipe is a keeper! And if you want to try it, whole fryer chickens are on sale right now at Kroger!