Don’t throw away those rotisserie chicken or steak bones! All you need is a good pot and a little time to have a rich, flavorful homemade broth.
Whatever type of broth you are making, the basis are aromatics, water, and time. Carrots, onions, and celery are the typical veggies we use, but you could also add garlic, shallots, or even a few root veggies if you are doing a vegetable broth.
The basics for beef broth, chicken broth, and vegetable broth are the same. The difference, of course, is that for vegetable broth, you don’t add bones. Surprise surprise.
Don’t Throw Away Those Bones!
Start with the bones, in this case, the bones were leftover from a roasted whole chicken. You could use bones from a rotisserie from your local grocery store or a chicken from a meal, beef bones after a steak dinner, or even turkey bones after Thanksgiving.
Throw those bones into a Dutch oven or stock pot. (Note, if you use a Dutch oven, it will eventually stain the enamel. We happen to have two Dutch ovens, so one is for stock and the other is for everything else.) Add in a few carrots, some onion and celery, fill the Dutch oven with water and… that’s pretty much it.
Low and Slow
The trick is simmering the broth low and slow for a long time. Mr. Alexander calls this our 48 hour broth, because that’s usually how long we simmer it, which is also why it becomes such a deep shade and has such rich flavor.
If you’re using a Dutch oven, preheat the oven to 225 and bring the stock to simmer, then put it in the stove for 24-48 hours, checking the water level occasionally. If you’re using a stock pot, bring it to a simmer on your stove, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for as long as can. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor.
The last step is to strain out the solids and let the broth cool in your refrigerator. The fat will become solid and you can skim it off the top.
Then measure the broth into freezer bags in sizes you will use. For me, that’s 2 cups for dirty rice, 2 cups for the chicken and rice casserole, and 6 cups for risotto. (Not yet on the blog–someday soon!)
Lay the freezer bags flat (and labeled) on a cookie sheet freeze. Voila! Homemade broth to use anytime! All you need to do is either thaw it in advance (if you think of it, I don’t usually) or just warm it up in a sauce pan!
How To Make Homemade Broth
- 5-7 Quart Dutch Oven or Large Stock Pot
- 1 chicken, leftover bones only*
- 2-3 medium celery stalks washed
- 2-3 medium carrots unpeeled but washed
- 1 large onion
- Water, as needed
- If using a Dutch oven, preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
- Trim the tops of the carrots and the ends of celery.
- Peel and quarter the onion.
- Place chicken bones or beef bones in the Dutch oven or stock pot, along with the celery, carrots, and onion.*
- Depending on the size of the pot, add water to about two inches from the top.
- Whether using the Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the water to a low simmer.
- If using a Dutch oven, place it in the oven at 225 degrees and let cook for 24-48 hours. Check periodically if it needs additional water. If so, add the water, bring it back to a simmer on the stove top, and replace in the oven. If using a stock pot, let it simmer 24-48 hours on low, adding water as necessary.
- Once the broth is done to your satisfaction, strain the broth to remove the vegetables and bones.
- Place in the refrigerator, covered, until the fat has risen to the top and solidified, and the broth is cooled.
- Skim the solidified fat from the broth and portion the broth into freezer bags in amounts you will use in other recipes, i.e. 1 cup, 2 cups, etc. Stack flat on a cookie sheet until frozen.