There, I said it! I don’t always make chicken stock from scratch (I do, sometimes, but not all the time…in fact, infrequently). Hey, guess what? Most chefs don’t make chicken stock from scratch at home either. A lot don’t even do it at their restaurants. Does this make me (or you) a bad person? Nope, not at all. It makes us people who have a bazillion other things to beyond standing around a stove for 2-4 hours while a chicken carcass cooks itself into nothingness for a pot of liquid that will last for one meal or recipe. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got stuff to do. Do I use the chicken stock (or broth) straight from the can/box? Not usually. This, my friends, is how you can get a pretty damn tasty chicken stock out of a can or box.
First things first. Chicken stock is made with bones and chicken broth is made with chicken meat. In case you were wondering, that’s the difference. Most people, including myself, use those two phrases interchangeably.
Learning how to make chicken stock, from a can, is about as difficult as making it from scratch. (Meaning, not at all difficult.) The big difference (aside from having to have a chicken when making stock from scratch) is the time.
The secret to having a good semi homemade chicken broth is pouring the broth out of the can and into a pot and adding some tasty things to it. I say “things” because you can change up your mix-ins depending on what you’re going to be doing with the broth. But the basic ingredients to add are carrots (don’t need to be peeled), onion (papery outer covering can stay as long as onion is clean) and garlic. From there you can add things like peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, fresh or dried mushrooms and celery. If you’re making an Asian dish you could add lemongrass, ginger, soy sauce or even some cut up lemon. If you want to go really crazy, you could add in some chicken wings, backs or necks for an even richer flavor. Or you can just add herbs and spices. If you don’t want to have to strain out the herbs bits and pieces before eating, tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth before dropping them into the stock.
I always buy a low sodium chicken stock. Not so much to reduce my sodium intake, but when you start cooking down the stock (reducing it) you’ll be concentrating its flavor. If it’s one of those full salt cans of broth, that means your broth is going to be mucho salty – ick.
Once you’ve made your homemade chicken broth (hey, you added things to the broth and spent time cooking it…you can call it homemade) there are so many things you can do with it. The most obvious is to use it as a base for chicken soup. You can use it as the broth that’s called for other recipes, like risotto or you could even make up a batch of broth and freeze it. You could also freeze it in ice cube trays. Pop the frozen cubes into a zip top bag and into the freezer it goes. Each cube is 2 tablespoons of broth. Toss some of those in when you’re making a batch of rice or mashed potatoes for extra flavor. (Reduce the other liquids by the amount of frozen broth you just added though.)
Whenever I have a roasted chicken, I make up a batch of homemade chicken broth. I let it cool then pour it into a gallon freezer bag and drop it into the freezer. The next time I’m feeling like soup, all I have to do is defrost it. But I don’t always have a chicken broth popsicle in my freezer. On those days when I need some soup, I reach for the can/box and add my favorite ingredients. In 20 minutes, I’ve got a delicious bowl of soup.
- 2 Cans/1 Box Low Sodium Chicken Stock
- 2 Carrots (ends removed and roughly chopped)
- 1 Medium Onion (quartered)
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 6 Black Peppercorns
- Add all of the ingredients, except the salt, to a large pot and heat over medium high heat.
- Cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain.
- At this point you can add whatever you like to it (cooked rice, cooked noodles, etc.) and serve it as soup. If you would like to freeze it, let it cool with the ingredients in it before straining them then freeze.
- Taste the soup before adding salt.
Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.