I've got all kinds of things to talk to you about today. Slow cookers, chicken carcasses, herbs, veggies, broths, oh my!
To tell you the truth, I haven't bought chicken broth in years. Years. I keep a can of chicken bouillon with my spices, but that's it. I've been making my own ever since I learned this super-simple way to make broth.I'm sure almost everyone has found themselves face-to-face with chicken bones after disassembling a whole chicken. You may not have roasted the chicken, but it's possible you picked up one at Costco. Or Sam's. Or Walmart. Or just the grocery store. Rotisserie chickens are very, very popular. And I don't just make broth out of my own roasted chickens, I'll use that grocery store bird too! I love the feeling of using every last scrap of the bird. Home economics, at its best.
I don't often take the bird apart, I usually leave that task to the hubby. He likes to get his hands dirty. I usually sit the bird in front of him, along with a plate to put usable meat on and the slow cooker. Meat goes on the plate, everything else goes in the crock pot. Once the bird is in the pot, I cover it with onions, celery, carrot, and whatever herbs I have on hand. This particular batch happened to be parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. I then add a tablespoon of salt and a dozen cracks of fresh pepper before filling er' up with water. I can usually fit about 16 cups of water in the slow cooker, but it depends on the size of your crock. Once the water is added, you can seal the old girl up.
I put the cooker on low for 10 hours, and when I get up in the morning, I have this-
Full-flavor broth. And a house that smells like Boston Market. Yum!
Then allow to cool. I leave my bowl of broth on the counter for about an hour before I cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge. The broth will be cooled enough in about 5-6 hours. At this time, I take my handy skimmer and skim all the fat that has risen to the top. Since it's now cold, it gets all congealed and comes out practically all in one piece. So easy!
The next step is your call. You can use all the broth that day, and make fresh soup. You can freeze one big bag of broth. You can freeze 12-13-one cup portions, or (6) 2-cup portions. That's your choice. I usually fill a couple of 1-cup portions and a couple of 2-cup portions. Then again, sometimes I do make fresh soup out of it. Depends on the day and the meal plan. And there's a million and a half soups you could make with fresh broth. A million. Here's a couple of my favorites:
So there you go! One easy crock pot recipe, several soup ideas, and basically, a million ways to use fresh chicken broth (you know I didn't even mention the sauces you could make!). Go forth and create.
I haven't been updating much this week, mainly because things aren't going my way. I hate when that happens. Our car is still being worked on. They are telling us it will be ready on Saturday. I say, we'll see. My doctor's appointment last Friday at least revealed the likely culprit of my back pain- sacroillitis. It was funny, my doctor was training an intern at my appointment. So the intern is feeling all over my back, having me lay down, lift my leg in the air, turning my spine, the whole nine yards. She's also asking me questions about the pain, and I'm telling her as she is examining me. She never found the spot. My doctor was quietly watching and when the intern was done, she came over, put her hand on one spot on my back, and gently pushed in. I just about fell off the table, the pain was unbelievable. The intern was so close, yet her hands must have just flitted over the spot a dozen times. I had some x-rays done, even though we are pretty certain that's what's causing the pain. I'm no doctor here, but from my understanding it's basically inflammation and fluid around my left sacroiliac joint, which connects my hip to my spine. The only thing my doctor and I could figure is that I must have aggravated this injury playing beach volleyball in Mexico and it's gotten progressively worse. The remedy is ibuprofen, rest, and later, physical therapy. For joy.
So, y'all know what I'm doing today... reading, reading, and oh yes, some more reading :)
Have a great day everyone!
Ingredients (makes 12-14 cups):
1 whole chicken, skin and bones
1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, etc. ----> Personal choice)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
16 cups water
1. Combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker. Cover with lid. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
2. Remove lid from slow cooker. Grab a trash bag to sit next to the slow cooker. Take a slotted spoon and remove all debris from broth, i.e. chicken bones, veggies, herbs, etc. into the garbage bag. Discard garbage bag.
3. Place a large bowl in the kitchen sink and place a fine wire mesh strainer over it. Pour chicken broth from slow cooker through strainer, into large bowl.
4. Leave bowl of strained chicken broth on counter for 1 hour. Cover, and chill for 5-6 hours.
5. Remove chicken broth from fridge. Using a slotted spoon, skim layer of fat off the top of the broth. Discard. Use chicken broth immediately, or freeze for future use.
Linked to: Create It Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Thank Goodness It's Thursday, Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party, Snickerdoodle Sunday, Treasure Box Tuesday