Nothing compares to the richness of homemade chicken broth. I know the canned varieties have organic and “low-sodium” options now, but I am talking about the cold-curing, hearty broth that can only be achieved at home. Nothing will elevate your soups and sauces to that next flavor level like homemade chicken broth.
I abhor waste almost as much as I detest canned, watery broth, so I came up with a method for freezing the perfect portions of homemade chicken broth for any recipe! Muffin tins. The first time, well every time, my fiancé sees me do this, he calls it unnatural. Nonsense. It’s genius.
The process starts when you serve a whole chicken for dinner even if that chicken came pre-roasted in a bag from your local grocery store (GUILTY!). Throw all the remaining chicken bones and meat into a freezer bag. When I have two chicken carcasses, I make broth. My Mom used to do this and I always thought it was a little creepy having a whole chicken carcass in the freezer. Nope. It was genius.
You freeze that beautiful, rich homemade broth in muffin tins (a perfect ½ cup portion each), store them in a freezer bag, and then thaw exactly the amount needed for your recipe. My fiancé may never have seen anything like it before, but last time I checked, that was the definition of ingenious!
My Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe
(Followed by step by step instruction for freezing perfect portions)
Bones & remaining meat from 1 medium-large chicken
3 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 2” pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 2” pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary (heaping)
½ teaspoon dried thyme (heaping)
8 whole peppercorns
2 quarts cold water
pinch of salt
Place all ingredients into a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for at least 3 hours. I usually let it simmer for 5-6 and then cool on the stovetop for several more hours. More time, more flavor.
I strain the broth in a two-step process. First I scoop out all the large pieces of chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in a large colander over a bowl. Pour the rest of the broth through the colander. Set colander aside over another bowl.
The second step is straining the broth through cheesecloth. Place cheesecloth over top of the original pot and secure with a rubber band. Pour broth slowly through cheesecloth. Pour all the broth that has drained from the colander through the cheesecloth. Remove cheesecloth, squeeze, and discard. Squeeze the liquid from the celery into the broth. [My fiancé told me that this is what his Grandmother used to do, so that is what I have done ever since.]
Refrigerate over night and skim off all fat. Now you are ready to freeze it!
**I always double this recipe because this process is time consuming and I am busy!
Note: There is absolutely a faster way to strain your broth, but I really don’t like waste and my method ensures that every last drop of broth is captured! My Grandmother always said “Waste Not, Want Not”.
How to freeze perfect portions for later use:
Pour ½ cup of broth into each muffin cup. A standard muffin tin is almost exactly ½ cup.
Place muffin tin upside down over clean sink.
Place bag in freezer. Repeat process until all broth has been frozen. I have a tiny freezer and I actually have to remove my icemaker to make these. Commitment.
To thaw: I place however many muffin cups (1/2 cup each) needed in a Pyrex measuring cup and thaw in the microwave on half power until just melted.
Now that you have perfect portions try making: