Chicken soup – just what the doctor (or Mama) ordered, right? It has to be the all-time classic comfort food and all-purpose remedy for whatever is ailing you. The very best chicken soup begins with a nutrient-dense broth. That is one reason I like to keep it on hand. Not only do I use it when make soups, but also when making rice and sauces and so many other things. You can substitute it for the liquid in almost any casserole recipe.
Chicken broth is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and minerals like potassium and phosphorous. It’s known to have anti-inflammatory properties. And don’t forget about protein, fiber, antioxidants. Hmm, I’m thinking this is a good thing!
In order to have plenty on hand, I cook up a big stock pot full at the beginning of the month. I freeze it in quart-sized containers or zip bags. It’s easy, convenient, good for the budget and gives me a healthy option when cooking for my family.
Here is my recipe for the very best chicken broth ever:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1/2 large onion
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 whole carrots
- 3 celery tops
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- enough water to fill soup pot
- soup pot large enough to hold a whole chicken plus extra liquid
Place whole chicken (fresh or thawed) into soup pot and cover with water. Add all the rest of your ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3-4 hours or longer. The longer the better. The chicken will be falling off the bone. I usually set it on to simmer in the morning and leave it until sometime in the afternoon, sometimes as long as 8 hours. Add water as needed.
Next you’ll want to scoop out the vegetables and all the chicken pieces, set them aside. Let broth cool a bit, then strain. To do this, I line a large colander (strainer) with coffee filters or Bounty paper towels and place it over a bowl or pot. Slowly pour the broth through the coffee filters and then divide into your storage containers and freeze. Or make it into soup!
You can any seasonings or herbs you like to change up the flavor or fit the recipes you like to make. A little cayenne pepper or some sage, maybe some salt. Notice salt was not listed with the ingredients? I choose to salt on an as-needed basis, rather than load up on all that sodium early on.
Wait a minute! What about all that chicken? I separate all the meat out into portions for the recipes I have planned for the month, freezing them in labeled zip-type freezer bags. Now you have cooked chicken at-the-ready for chicken pot pie or chicken enchiladas or chicken salad or . . . just imagine the possibilities!
Do you use chicken broth in your recipes? What is your favorite chicken dish? I’m a recipe collector and I’d love to add yours to my file box!
Sharing this post at some of these wonderful places.