2/12/2012 UPDATE: So here's the thing. Hubby & I are getting a divorce. I'm not advised to blog during this time so... Still on hold here. Will blog again when I can, I miss it so dearly. :)
I can still be reached via email: theunexpectedworldofmommyhood@gmail.com Thanks everyone for your prayers and support at this time. The going is tough, but I am tougher and know a better future is waiting. ~ Meg :)

9/26/2011 UPDATE: My blog is "on hold" for a little bit... there is A LOT going on around here {so there are no worries, everyone is healthy!} and I'm really just not ready to blog about it. I will be back. Thanks for understanding!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Chicken Broth from Crockpot Chicken

A bit ago I posted my recipe for Crockpot Chicken. I'm so excited that it was well-received! I'm super excited to share with you the way I make broth. As with the Crockpot Chicken, I got the recipe from Amber at Paint Chips and Frying Pans. So I am sharing with you today, the steps on how to make it. 

Okay. So first you need to cook your Crockpot Chicken

Then you need to eat your dinner. Go ahead, I'll wait. Don't forget your veggies!

Wasn't that delicious? Now that dinner is over, take the whole chicken and get all the meat off of it. The meat goes in a container in the fridge and will last us for a few days! I always wait until after dinner to do this so I can do it with my hands (the chicken will be very HOT if you do it sooner). Please wash your hands first. Using your hands will help you feel if there are any bones. Sometimes I am able to find the tiniest bone ever with my fingers that would have gone completely unnoticed. This is important for a couple reasons: A.) No one wants to choke or eat a bone. B.) You want as much of the non-meat parts of the chicken as you can get. When you are done taking all the meat off, it should look something like this. A gross pile of bones and skin and stuff.

Put it all back into the crockpot and add water until it covers the bones and stuff. Turn the crockpot back on. (You will want to have turned it off during dinner so it can cool a bit and to give your crockpot a break. I make my broths overnight so I don't like it running all day long and then through the night. I think it needs a mini break in-between.) At this point, I add more onions, celery, carrots, leftover veggies from dinner maybe, a couple Bay Leaves, some garlic cloves, NO SALT, DO NOT ADD SALT, you can always use garlic powder, onion powder, etc ~ I just usually have those things fresh & handy. You really don't need much, the bones & stuff will add so much flavor to the broth. As far as the salt thing goes, don't add salt now because when you use the broth you will absolutely be adding salt so you do not want to over-sodium-ize yourself, k?
Talk about being bloated the next day...

So you turn the crockpot back on at the LOW setting and set the timer for 10 hours. Depending on if it is later or earlier in the evening, I might set mine for 12 hours so the timer doesn't go off at 6:55am and wake the kids up. I'm sure you understand what I mean. But definitely give it at least 10 hours to cook together..

Now you go to bed. You've earned a good night's sleep. And waking up in the morning to the smell of freshly cooked broth is seriously amazing. I loooooooooooove the smell of my house after I make broth. LOVE. LOVE. LOOOOOOOOOVE.

Yum. Look at this stuff. How great does this look? And it tastes so good, too. I love to pour myself a tiny little glass of chicken broth and drink it. I know, I am a total freak but I don't care.
Chicken broth is so soothing.

Once you are up and at 'em, turn off that crockpot and remove the lid. Let the broth cool. 

Last time I made this, I unplugged our crockpot and left the house. For three hours. The crockpot was STILL too warm to hold barehanded when we got home. I'm telling you, let it cool down. Not to the point of being cold ~ It needs to be warm but not hot.

Once it has cooled down to a warm degree, take a sieve and drain the liquid into a large pot.

Now you are ready to make soup. OR you are ready to freeze the broth for later. 

If you are freezing it for later, I recommend measuring it in 2 cup increments into freezer bags. Be sure to label your bag with the item and date. AND WAIT UNTIL IT HAS COOLED OR YOU WILL BURN YOURSELF. When I made this broth and took pictures, I was planning on making chicken soup later so I did not freeze them. These pictures are of broths I have already made. I mentioned before in the Crockpot Chicken post about making them into "Files". I freeze them in my freezer in such a way that they will freeze "flat" and thus making them easy to "File" later on in my freezer. See?

And that's it. Yummy, rich, soothing, deep (can broth be described as deep? does that even make sense?) homemade broth. WAY better than bouillon cubes, WAY better than canned/boxed broths, and WAY easy to make if you're willing to put in the prep work. And if you're making a whole chicken anyways, why not use the bones and stuff to make broth. Otherwise they just go to waste being thrown out. Since discovering how to do this, I have only ONCE not made broth after making a chicken. I just feel so badly wasting it when I know it can be put to good use. (Boy, I think I could really learn a lot of useful things if I could spend a day with a real pioneer woman.) Sometimes I use broth to cook frozen veggies or pasta. It adds a lovely extra flavor. I was skeptical when I first read Amber's post and she said that I would never buy broth at a store again. But, she was spot on!!! I will never buy broth at a store (if I can help it!) again.

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