Monday, June 15, 2009

Chicken Bother: We call it broth

For those who like soups, but don't know much about cooking, there is an important feature to it. It's called broth. Broth is basically made up of some vegetables and assorted carcasses, depending on you want. If you use chicken then it's chicken broth. If you use beef then it's beef broth. If you use your imagination then it's vegetable broth. It's all about personal preference there.

I've been a vegan for 8 going on 9 years. This might make you think that I was going to talk about vegetable broth but as the title says that's a rather big lie. I'm going to talk about making chicken broth because I just got to make some and it was delicious. This makes me a bad vegan (actually it makes me not a vegan at all, but that's for another time) but I feel the need to share this with those who might not know how to do it.

Step 1. Get yourself a chicken
Preferably dead and mostly eaten. You can have roasted it yourself, of purchased it from the store. We aren't picky and you shouldn't be either. What you want to do is break apart the chicken and pull all the meat you can off of it. You can use it for the soup later, but right now what you really want are the bones, and some of the skin if you can pull it off.
When you've got it all taken apart, put the chicken bones in a pot and put the chicken meat in the fridge.

Step 2. Water, water everywhere
You can fill the pot with water, enough so that it covers the chicken bones completely. Don't do anything just yet, but it's good to have the water ready.

Step 3. Vegetables
Despite the fact that this is a chicken broth, vegetables are totally needed. You're going to want to use the troika of vegetables. The Onion, the Carrot and the Celery. These three vegetables will make your broth amazingly awesome.
This is reason 58187298722 why making a broth is a good idea. You know how you get those bags of vegetables that you never seem to fully use? This is where they're going to go. I know I have never, ever used a full bag of onions before they've gone completely and created their own zombie onion hoard on me. Putting them in broths is a great way to deal with that. Same thing with carrots and celery though I tend to have less carrots and celery that goes bad. They don't really go bad, they just kind of wilt and get all emo on me.
Thankfully when you use these three vegetables you want to use double the amount of onions over the other two vegetables. That means if you use a couple of carrots and a couple of stalks of celery then you want to use two to three whole onions. No need to be fancy, just chop 'em in half and throw them into the pot.

Step 4. Na-Cl
Salt is perhaps one of the most important things in cooking. It does wonderful miraculous things to your food, especially if you put it in while you're cooking instead of afterward. You're going to want to put some salt in now. At the very least you want a couple of teaspoons, you may even want a tablespoon or two of the stuff. Some people might be cringing but understand this is going in several cups of water. It's a lot less salt per unit then if you just sprinkle the damned stuff on your food directly.

Step 5. Boil-boil-boil-boil
Now, you're going to want to top up the water so that everything is covered up nicely, put the lid on the let that sucker sit on a slow, gentle boil for a while. You'll let all those flavours marry in the pot and then you're going to want to go play a video game, read a book, grab your loved one and spend several hours of bliss. Whatever you want to do to make that time pass easier, go for it.

Step 6. Strain!
You've finished your extra-culinary activities and you feel that the broth is ready to go. Excellent, now you want to take all the things you put in there to make the water taste good and take them out. A colander will go far in this, as well as a bowl.

For the love of god finish reading this first because if you empty the stock into the sink because I told you to use a colander and you went in pasta auto-pilot and dumped it into the sink do not blame me. Seriously.

Step 7. Use!
Now, you can use the broth, or not. You can put it in a container and freeze it. You can use it add some non-wilty carrots and celery, a cup of rice and some of the chicken you ripped off to make some nice chicken and rice soup.

That's how you get a pretty serviceable chicken broth in seven steps.