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Friday, September 30, 2011

Different Ways To Make Broth

Homemade wonton soup made with
 homemade chicken broth
Chicken soup.
Beef soup.
Easy to make. Just take chicken or beef consume, mix it with water, and there you have it. Chicken soup. Beef soup.

Just kidding.
I mean, those work... but those are neither frugal options nor healthy options.

What's the healthier way to make chicken soup?
Take chicken or beef pieces, cook them with water and flavorings, and there you've got soup.

Of course, those are also options, but is that the only way to make chicken or beef soup?
Not at all!
There are so many different ways to make broth, some easier than others, some more time consuming than others, and some more frugal than others, as they use things that would otherwise end in the trash.
Here's but some of the options to make healthy, natural, chemical free chicken or beef soup. (Substitute any other poultry or meat for chicken or beef written; the list would get way too long if every single time I wrote chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, goat, pork, venison, etc...)


1. Take your chicken or beef, boil it in water to cover it until the meat is completely cooked. Remove the meat, and if desired, cook again with various flavorings, and use in another dish. Take the liquid, add onions, carrots, celery, or any other vegetables or vegetable scraps that you have in your kitchen, add salt, and boil until flavorful.
I tend to do this with meats that need a long cooking time. It leaves them soft and flavors the broth nicely, without making the meat overcooked or waterlogged. The best results have been when making this type of soup with chicken or turkey gizzards, or beef chuck. I also occasionally make it with a whole chicken or chicken wings, and then use the boiled meat in dishes with lots of added flavor, like re-cooking the de-boned chicken with fajita seasoning and using them in tacos.

2. Roast your chicken in the oven. Debone the chicken. Use it in whatever recipe you like. Take the bones, boil them in water with vegetables, and you've got your delicious broth.

3. Roast your chicken or beef in the oven or crockpot. Remove the meat from the cooking container- there should be liquid left in the bottom of the pan/crock, even if you didn't add sauces to the cooking meat. This is melted fat and meat juices that get released during cooking, and if you refrigerate your meat in the cooking  container, it's what will congeal into something rather gross looking- some semi solid wobbly mass that wiggles and jiggles when you shake it. Its actually natural gelatin, and is very healthy.
Take this liquid, mix it with water, veggies, and salt, and boil it to make a delicious, nutritious soup.

4. Clean your chicken or beef. Remove any unwanted skin, fat globules, or anything else you don't want to eat (like those chicken butts). Wash them well, stick them in a pot with water, salt, and veggies, and boil away. This will give you a very delicious and fatty broth. (If you chill it once cooked, you'll likely get a layer of clarified fat solidified at the top of the container. You can use this to cook with in place of oil.)

5. Cook your meat or chicken in the oven. Feed it to your family. Collect the bones off of everyone's plates. Stick them in a pot of water with veggies and salt, and boil away. You'll be left with a nice pot of soup! (In case you're worried about germs, you'll be boiling the bones for enough time to kill any bacteria or viruses that might be there. Pasteurization at its best!)

Note: Adding some vinegar to your broth while cooking will help the bones break down and release their goodness (like calcium) into the soup. I usually add apple cider vinegar, but anything acidic, even lemon juice, can work fine. Don't add too much so that it overpowers the flavor- a few tablespoons per gallon of broth is more than enough.

How do you usually make your chicken or beef soup? Do you collect meat drippings or bones from people's plates, or do you just boil your meat in your soup?

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