Friday, November 12, 2010

Cheatin at Chicken Broth

Have you ever noticed how many soups use chicken broth as the base? With chilly weather and early nights upon us, we're having soup more often for dinner at my house. I DON'T have the time to make homemade chicken broth routinely, and find that what comes out of the can is often a little bit boring. When I found the recipe for "Cheater's Homemade Broth" in the cookbook How To Eat Supper, it was, like, "Aha!!!  this is the answer."

When I first started making this, I followed the above recipe to a tee. Now I just throw in whatever is handy and doctor it up as I see fit, depending on what I have around and what I think I'm going to do with the broth. I tend NOT to put the cloves in, although they add a really nice touch; on the other hand, I DO like to add bits of fresh herbs that I might have in the windowsill.

I also use more broth than the original recipe calls for, and when I make a batch will usually use half of it right away, and put the rest up in the freezer to use later.

So, get ready to get your hands smelling nice and fragrant -- all this chopping will make you smile...

cheaters broth-1

Roughly chop and throw into the bottom of a gigantic stew pot:
  • 3 or 4 carrots (scrub thoroughly -- unpeeled if organic -- peel if not. I also like to add the green carrot tops SOMETIMES. They have a very peppery taste and are really good if your soup is going to be very simple, like chicken vegetable and noodle. The taste can fight some flavors, though, so I decided not to use it today.)
  • 3 or 4 stalks of celery (we usually cut up a lot of celery for snacks at the beginning of every week, and I will often just use the scraps, including the leafy tops, for this soup.)
  • 1 large onion (And I don't care how organic the onion is or how much more flavor the skins might bring, I can't bring myself to throw the skins into the pot. I KNOW what's in organic dirt people, and I don't think it's all that much nicer than non-organic dirt, and I just never feel like I'm getting onion skins all that clean...)
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic,roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 whole bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 big pinches of dried basil
  • grated pepper to taste
  • extra herbs, like fresh marjoram or thyme are also nice (fresh rosemary or sage would be great if you were going to use this broth to make your turkey dressing with, but are a bit too strong for soup)
  • 2 or 3 whole canned tomatoes (NOTE -- I will get a big can of whole tomatoes and freeze the leftover tomatoes in little packages to use the next time I make this soup base)

cheaters broth-2

See how rough chopped this can be? You don't have to be neat or small with your chop (better to not be, actually) and so it is really fast.

Add to the pot:
  • 3 large (32 ounce) boxes of chicken broth -- Okay. I like the boxed broth better than the canned for some reason. There are lots of brands out there that are good, but my favorite is College Inn broth. Use whatever you have available! Whichever way you go, you just want lots of broth.

I'm sorry. I forgot to take pictures of the broth itself.

cheaters broth-3

I did, however, remember to take a picture of the wine.

  • Because you add about 1/2 to 1 cup or so of wine, too! And although some people will say you should never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, I've used white cooking wine from the grocery store with no problem.

So -- now you simmer the whole thing on the stove for about 30 minutes or so. Turn it off, let it cool down at least enough that you don't get burned, and then strain the broth from all the "stuff".

cheaters broth-4

(ooops. I couldn't get a clear photo here no matter what I did! I think my lens was steamed up...)

cheaters broth-5

Use right away while still hot, store in the refrigerator, or cool and then freeze for later use.

Here's the original recipe again:
Cheater's Homemade Broth

And here's another rundown of my ingredients:
3-4 carrots
3-4 stalks of celery
1 large onion
4-6 cloves of garlic
2-3 whole bay leaves
3-4 pinches of dried basil
a good grind of pepper across the top
extra herbs as desired
2-3 whole tomatoes (canned)
3-32 ounce boxes of chicken broth
1/2 - 1 cup of white wine

Remember that I missed a few posts last week because I was out of town? 

Well, since we promised you 30 recipes by the end of the month, I owe you a few make ups,  don't I!  So later on this afternoon I'll post a soup recipe that uses this broth.  And if you think of a great soup recipe YOU have, let us know.

We wanna hear about it.  We really really do.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Wonderful! I love that last photo, too...