The CIA Cookbook
by The Culinary Institute of America
Chicken broth is a crucial ingredient in soup making, and the flavor of homemade is hard to beat. You can double, or even quadruple, this recipe and freeze the extra so that you always have some on hand. If you freeze the broth in ice-cube trays, then transfer the cubes to freezer bags, it's easy to thaw exactly the amount you need. If you're short on time and must use canned broth, choose the all- natural or fat-free, reduced-sodium varieties.
Makes about 2 quarts
• 4 lb stewing hen or chicken parts or meaty bones, such as backs and necks
• 3 quarts cold water
• 1 large onion, diced (about 1¼ cups)
• 1 carrot, diced (about 1/3 cup)
• 1 celery stalk, diced (about 1/2 cup)
• 5-6 whole black peppercorns
• 3-4 parsley stems
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
1. Place the chicken and water in a large pot (the water should cover the chicken by at least 2 inches; add more if necessary). Bring the water slowly to a boil over medium heat.
2. As the water comes to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the surface. Adjust the heat once a boil is reached, so that a slow, lazy simmer is established. Cover partially, and simmer 2 hours, skimming as often as necessary.
3. Add the remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer, skimming the surface as necessary, until the broth is fully flavored, about i hour.
4. If using hen or chicken parts, remove them and cool slightly. Dice or shred the meat, and reserve to garnish the broth or save for another use. Discard the skin and bones.
5. Strain the broth through a fine sieve or cheese- cloth-lined colander into a large metal container. Discard the solids.
6. If you are using the broth right away, skim off any fat on the surface. If you are not using the broth right away, cool it quickly by transferring it to a metal container (if it's not in one already) and placing the container in a sink filled with ice-cold water. Stir the broth as it cools, and then transfer it to storage containers. Store in the refrigerator, up to 5 days, or in the freezer, up to 3 months. Label and date the containers clearly before putting them into the freezer.
NOTES: To make a double chicken broth, use cold chicken broth instead of water.
Some stores sell packages of necks and backs that can be used to prepare broth. This broth can also be made with the carcasses of roasted birds. Save the bones after all of the meat has been pulled or carved away (freeze them if you will not be making the broth within a day or two). You will need the carcasses of about 3 birds.
If the broth is allowed to chill in the refrigerator overnight, the fat will rise to the surface and harden. It is then easy to lift away. The broth will then be completely fat free, and will only have the salt that you have chosen to add.
If, after straining the broth, you find the flavor to be weaker than you would like, simply put the broth back on the stove and boil it down until the flavor has concentrated.