Chicken Broth

Here is a post duplicated from my other blog, Simply: Home Cooking – it seemed appropriate since so many of the recipes here call from chicken broth!

Chicken broth is definitely a staple you’ll want to have on hand if you’re not vegetarian, and yes, there are fairly healthful canned and boxed versions out there; however, the best is (of course!) homemade from scratch. It does take about an hour and a half to cook, but once everything is in the pot, it’s pretty much hands off.

Makes approximately 1/2 gallon.

ingredients:

  • bones from 2 chickens
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1” sections
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1” sections
  • 3 parsley stems
  • 3 sprigs thyme (or just the stems)
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large soup pot, then cover by about 1” with cold water.
  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Immediately reduce to a slow simmer, cover only partially, and let it cook for 1.5 h.
  4. Strain the soup into a clean pot or large bowl, cool to room temperature in a sink full of ice water, then refrigerate in tightly covered containers.

do ahead:

  • The broth will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Once the broth has been in the refrigerator long enough to reach about 40ºF, you can place in the freezer in airtight containers. It will keep up to 6 months frozen.

variation:

What I particularly like about this version is that it can also be made with “recycled” ingredients: in the freezer in 2 large airtight containers labeled “soup bones” and “soup veg” I save the bones from chickens that I cut up for boneless dishes and even bones that have been roasted, too; onion tops, tails, and outer layers; celery bottoms and leaves; carrot peels, tops, and tails; parsley and thyme stems. Food recycling at its finest!

Food in the News and on the ‘Net

Here’s an inspiring article for kids (and parents!) who are bemoaning the lack of summer jobs – but you’ll have to plan ahead for next summer: A Michigan Teen Farms Her Backyard. Good to see 4-H and FFA getting a boost! Those organizations get more accolades in the comments on the SlowFood USA Blog post “Celebrity Chef and Army General Urge Congress to Fix School Lunch.”

Public Radio Kitchen follows up on a Slow Food on a budget experiment with a straightforward list of “10 Rules for Eating Slow ‘n’ Cheap.”

In local Southeast Michigan food news:

Governor Granholm signed the “Cottage Food Bill” into law – this will allow sales to the public of food produced in non-commercial kitchens (of course restrictions apply).

And here’s coverage of a program on which I’ve been working in my “real life”: “Double Up Food Bucks and food policy with the Fair Food Network.”

Garden update

We’ve harvested our first cucumber from the garden! It was fun to see the kids’ eyes widen with the first bite – even Nikolai ate it, and he is NOT a fan of cucmbers as a rule. I planted a longer, thin-skinned, less “seedy” Japanese variety and it looks as though we will have quite a harvest from our 3 plants, which I’ve trained to a trellis to take up less space in my raised 3′ x 3′ bed.

The one casualty in the garden has been my crop of pea shoots – some critter mowed each plant down at the base and then didn’t even eat the shoots! Instead of fulfilling my visions of a large dish of stirfried pea shoots, I had to satisfy myself with using what had been cut down for mixing with salad greens. From this I have learned a bit about what sort of plants can live together in a small bed – I should have relegated the pea shoots to the same bed where the spinach, amaranth, basil and onions are thriving, since I can keep that bed covered. Apparently the garden raiders consider my cucumber, bitter melon, and long bean plants too tough for grazing already, so when that bed was uncovered, they still left those alone.

Other than the rodent-type marauders, the garden seems to be suffering only from slugs, and they have been taken care of with a very low-tech solution: glass jars buried so that the lip is even with the soil and filled with beer. I comfort myself with the thought that at least the slugs die drunk and happy.