Creating your own delicious homemade broth is the perfect way to welcome Autumn. Soups and stews have been the cornerstone of cooking for centuries due to their versatility and nutritional goodness. Whether on a modern day stove or over an open fire, broth historically creates the base of our favorite savory meals.
These culinary creations are not only economical, but are also eco-friendly with very little effort. Skip the cartons and cans of store bought broth in favor of making your own. Its healthier, far more cost effective and eliminates the waste of cans or cartons.
If making your own broth sounds complicated, its not!
You are going to be happily surprised at how easy it is to make your own that you’ll never buy broth again. The best part is that it freezes really well. Make a big batch, keep it in the fridge and freezer and have it ready whenever needed.
Homemade Vegetable Broth
You can buy vegetables to make your broth, but with a little bit of planning, the most economical way to make broth is to save your veggie scraps for a week or two. Designate a reusable bag or container for the freezer and just keep adding your veggie scraps (tops of carrots, carrot peels-just wash first, celery tops, broccoli stems, etc.) each day. Then when its time to make broth just take it from the freezer to a stock pot.
Use whatever vegetables you like. Variety creates a more complex broth. Traditional vegetables to use include onion, garlic, carrots and celery. You can, however, expand beyond the basics and use other vegetables that you like. Broth is a great way to use vegetables that are getting close to the end of their freshness. If you love a flavor, include it in the pot.
1. Put a large stock pot on medium heat.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or oil of choice) to the stock pot. If you are using onion and/or garlic, cut into large chunks and sauté them for 2-3 minutes. If you prefer to not use oil, you can also sauté the onion and garlic is a bit of water or stock left over from your last batch.
3. Add hard and crunchy vegetables such as celery and carrots and sauté for another 3-5 minutes. Sautéing adds more depth to the flavors. Saute until softened, but not burnt as this will effect flavor.
4. Pour in about 6-8 cups of water.
5. Add other vegetables that you are using. All together you are going to want about 4-6 cups of vegetables.
6. Add herbs and spices of your choice. Traditional seasonings would be salt, pepper (about 1 teaspoon each), bay leaf, parsley, rosemary and thyme. You can use fresh or dried. If you would like the broth to have more of an Italian flavor, omit the rosemary and thyme and subtitute basil and oregano or use an Italian seasoning mix. Again, go with what you like.
7. Cover and turn down the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning to fit your preference. I tend to keep the broth mild as I will add more seasoning when I use it in a dish. The broth needs to simmer for one to two hours.
8. Strain the broth into a bowl to remove the cook vegetables and bay leaves. These should all be added to your compost. Not composting yet? Click here to learn how to start your own compost at home.
9. Store the broth in jars in the refrigerator for up to a week or in containers in the freezer for a month. I also fill an ice cube tray with broth and freeze to have cubes of broth for when I just need a small amount.
Homemade Chicken Stock
Chicken stock is just as easy as vegetable broth and follows the same concept. When bones are used, the name traditionally changes to stock. But in many recipes the words broth and stock are interchanged.
1. After sautéing the vegetables (see above), place one whole chicken in the pot and cover with water.
2. Add desired herbs and spices. (see suggestions above)
3. Cover the pot and bring to a rolling boil for five minutes. Stay close and monitor that the pot doesn’t overflow.
4. Turn down the pot and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours. Gently stir occasionally. Use a spoon to remove any foam that develops.
5. After cooking for 1-2 hours, the chicken will fall off the bones, so I use two large spoons to gently lift the chicken out of the pot onto a plate. Let it cool, then debone the chicken to use in other recipes like enchiladas or chicken salad.
6. Strain the broth into a large bowl removing the cooked vegetables and bay leaf. Compost the vegetables.
Store the chicken broth in jars in the fridge or freeze as suggested above under vegetable broth.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Stock
I LOVE my Instant Pot and its a super easy way to cook a chicken and make stock at the same time. Start to finish in 30 minutes. Can’t get easier than that!
For Instant Pot broth, the chicken doesn’t cook in the liquid as in the recipe above. I find the stock produced at the bottom of the pot to be delicious and I use it for many other recipes. Use it to thin sauces, simmer vegetables or create gravies. The chicken produced from this recipe is extremely tender like a rotisserie chicken.
1. Add the metal steamer tray to your Instant Pot (this can be purchased separately if it wasn’t included with your Instant Pot).
2. Lay a whole chicken on the tray.
3. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pot.
4. Season the chicken. I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chicken and sprinkle with lemon pepper. I put the squeezed lemons in the cavity of the chicken. Other options would be salt and pepper or other spice mixes you prefer.
5. Seal the Instant Pot lid and set the timer for 20 minutes on pressure cook.
6. After the pressure releases, remove the lid. Gently lift the chicken out using the steamer tray handles and place it on a plate to cool. Debone and use for other recipes.
The bottom of the container is filled with chicken stock. Pour into containers and store in the refrigerator for up to one week or the freezer for a month.
Enjoy your broth while feeling great about eliminating waste and living a more sustainable life!