I will admit to rolling my eyes a little years ago at Ina Garten when she pulled out homemade stock for the recipes on her show. “Store bought is fine” was definitely my mantra and I couldn’t understand why someone would take the time to make something purchased so easily. That is, until I realized how much easier it was to make your own! It’s also less expensive, more flavorful, and you know exactly what is in your food.
I make stock every few months, storing two bags in my freezer – one with chicken bones and one with vegetable scraps (washed of course). When they are full, I make stock. It’s that simple! I have yet to make beef stock, but for that, I think I’d go to my local grass-fed beef farm stand at the market and buy some bones from them. Easy to do because they’re my booth neighbors at the Vandenberg Village Farmer’s Market on Sundays!
How to Make Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- Empty your bag of frozen chicken bones or vegetables into a large stock pot. You can combine the chicken and vegetables, but I make them separate so I can prepare vegan dishes.
- Fill the pot with water until it is about 2 inches over the vegetables or bones. Add any spices if you wish. Bay leaves, parsley and thyme are common. You may also add salt, but I would keep the quantity small so you can adjust salt as needed in the dishes you cook with the broth later, maybe a good pinch or so if you must.
- Bring to a rolling boil then immediately reduce the heat to barely a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Check the flavor. If it’s to your liking, remove the broth from the heat. If it still tastes like water, continue to simmer longer, checking each half hour. If you over-simmer, the broth can become bitter.
- After the broth is ready, allow to cool either over ice, or on a hot pad in the refrigerator before transferring to your storage containers.
- Using a wire mesh strainer, separate the solids in your broth from the broth and discard.
- Ladle or pour the broth into your containers and either store in the refrigerator for immediate use or freeze. Be sure to leave a little room for expansion in the containers you plan to freeze.