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Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken and veggie broth

Homemade broth is a simple way to "make something out of nothing," as I like to say.  It is a way to make use of otherwise un-useable odds and ends: chicken bones and giblets, celery greens and less-than-crisp stalks, woody vegetable stems, and clean carrot peels can all be tossed into the bubbling brew. 

Chicken broth is soothing to the digestive system, because it contains gelatin.  Homemade broth can be especially beneficial to those who are unable to consume dairy products, since the broth can also have a high mineral content.  I add apple cider vinegar to my broth, since the acidity of the vinegar helps to leach minerals from the bones.  Veggie scraps add flavor and nutritional content, as well.

Store-bought broth will not have these nutritional benefits, and may contain artificial flavoring agents and MSG.  

With a good homemade broth in the fridge, flavor and nutritional value can be added to soups, grains (think risotto!) and hotdish-like recipes, like mustard chicken and veggies

Here, I've got a pot with squash seeds and pulp, kale stems, and a chicken carcass ready to go.

The "recipe" for a homemade broth is incredibly simple: toss leftover bones and vegetable scraps into a 4-quart pot.  Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Cover the pot's contents with filtered water, and bring it to a boil.  Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for three to six hours.  Then, strain and discard the bones and vegetable matter.  I like to store my broth in glass jars, but you can also pour it into a pitcher.  Use or freeze the broth over the course of one week.

 One clever idea to get you in the swing of broth-making is to collect bones and vegetable scraps, over the course of the week, in a plastic bag in the freezer. 

DO use peels from organic vegetables, especially from aromatics like carrots and onions.  It's a frugal way to get the most out of your produce--and you don't want to  make pesticide soup!

DON'T add liver or brassica vegetables like broccoli or cabbage to your broth.  Liver will make your broth taste bitter, while brassica vegetables will make it taste (and make your house smell!) sulfurous.