As part of my continuing effort to be as efficient and cost-minded as possible, I’ve found a new area of opportunity. Firstly, I eat a lot of soup. It’s easy to make and quick, two things that are key for me when I get home. The fact that soup is also rather low-calorie and cheap doesn’t hurt either but canned broth was bugging me.
What kind of chickens do they use? Undoubtedly, bits and pieces of mass-production. Why does it have to contain so much sodium? To preserve and add flavor. And how much do you really get out of a can anyway? Not enough to make more than one meal. To quiet my inner four-year old (but why? but why? but why?) I started to make my own broth. It began with me saving the bones of chicken-based meals in a Tupperware container in the freezer then making a pot full on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but I’ve gone one step further recently.
You see, while not a vegetarian, I do eat very little meat. When I started to cut down my grocery budget meat was the first thing to go. Couple that with my job at a beef and pork operation that is small, local and humane. My thought is that since it is so easy and convenient for me to know how something is raised and where it comes from, I should go ahead and actually purchase said products but with cost in mind.
It was with this that I chose to purchase chicken backs for $1.50/lbs. rather than a whole chicken for $4.99/lbs. Not everyone can get chicken backs or bones so my original method of saving and freezing bones from meals past is still a good, efficient and tasty option. Following is my recipe for easy chicken stock. Tomorrow I will have a recipe for the left over parsley called for in the stock.
2 pkg. chicken backs or the bones from one or two whole chickens (about two large freezer containers worth)
2 large carrots cut in half
2-3 garlic cloves still in the skin
1/2 a large onion with skin
2 celery stalks cut in half
1 bunch of parsley (just the stems – reserve the leave’s for tomorrow’s recipe)
2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
In a large stock pot add all the ingredients. Add cold water until it covers everything by about 2 inches. Place on the stove at medium to medium-high heat so that the water is at a constant low boil/heavy simmer. Leave, checking occasionally for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When done, strain into a large bowl. I like to pull out the garlic and squeeze the soft, flavorful clove from the skin into the strained stock. You can also pick meat off the bones and reserve for soup or chicken salad if you want to go the next step. I split the stock among several freezable containers and freeze for later use. I usually get between 4 and 6 quarts of stock.