It has been a long 15 years since I made my first forays into organic eating. At the time, the practice was more “fringe” than “in” and I relied heavily on local farmers to support my habit.
Eating well today has its challenges but they are nothing like a decade or more ago when you couldn’t pop into your local grocery store for a loaf of organic bread… or a quart of organic chicken broth.
I had always been a serious lover of homemade soups and, while relatively easy to find a farmer who fed organic corn to free-range chickens, broth was another story. That is until I learned to make it, simply, from leftovers.
It is a habit I maintain today, even though I have found commercial organic chicken broth that I like. You just can’t have too much broth! It is really a process rather than a recipe. I have tried adding herbs and vegetables to create more of a stock but given the simple goodness and ease of this version, it has become my staple.
Simple Organic Chicken Broth
- Roast an organic chicken. Season the bird (or not) as you like, but bigger birds tend to be tastier and I usually ask my farmers to pull out their 7 pounders for me.
- Serve roast chicken for dinner and retain all non-organ scraps (skin, wing tips, bones, neck, etc). We find it convenient to store the discards in the roasting pan as we clean up after dinner.
- Remove any remaining meat from the carcass for other uses and add the carcass to the scrap collection.
- Deglaze the roasting pan. Deglazing is the process of capturing the delicious bits of browned flavor baked onto the bottom and sides of your pan. I pour boiling water into the pan, then scrape gently to dissolve the crisp remains for inclusion in my broth.
- Boil chicken scraps (bones, skin, etc) with the deglazed pan drippings, adding enough water to almost cover. Vegetable scraps (carrots, onion) are another good (but optional) addition. Cook for 3-4 hours until “scraps” are limp and broken down.
- Discard chicken scraps and strain broth.
- Add salt if desired. If you forget to do this, it is no problem since it can be added when the broth is incorporated into another recipe (can you tell I forget this a lot?)
- Store in refrigerator, then scrape off fat (consider reserving this for other uses) when cool. Use broth within a couple days or freeze for later use.
When I first started making broth this way, it sometimes felt like more work than I wanted to go through—despite its simplicity. But take my word for it, if you make this a habit you’ll soon be able to do it almost without thinking. Tip: set the oven timer to remind yourself to check your broth.