Chicken Broth

If you've read this for a while, you know how much I love a good roast chicken. Most weekends, it becomes the cornerstone of our meals. I'll make one on Friday night and serve it with homemade challah, roasted sweet potatoes, and a green salad (usually kale). The next morning, I'll make a hash with leftover chicken thighs, chopped-up challah, onions, and whatever greens we have in the house, and top it with poached eggs and some crispy chicken skin (chicken bacon!).

On Sunday morning, I'll shred whatever meat is left and cook the carcass (and the bones, which I always save) with skin-on cloves of smashed garlic, onion peels, carrot tops, any other vegetables we need to use up (particularly great for those that are starting to wither in the veggie bin), salt, pepper, and water to cover. I'll let it simmer all day (along with the chicken innards that came with the bird, which I removed before roasting) and then put most of it in the fridge for later in the week.

To about a quart of broth, I add star anise, cinnamon, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and a touch of honey, simmer again, and then serve with rice noodles and the rest of the chicken meat or some pan-fried tofu. Sunday-night pho is one of my most special meals of the week.

Throughout the week, I base meals around the yielded broth. A rich kale-white bean soup for lunch, risotto for dinner, couscous and quinoa, made miles more flavorful by its addition-even a steaming cup of plain broth when it's too close to a mealtime for a snack, but my stomach is starting to rumble. It's wildly easy to make and a great way to stretch the dollars I spent on the chicken.

INGREDIENTS:3-4 pounds leftover chicken carcasses (basically whatever is left of your roast chicken after you eat it), plus the chicken innards, which usually come in a bag inside the chicken when you buy it
1 large onion, quartered (with peel) 50 cents
4 carrots (leave the peel and stems on), quartered $1
large handful of whatever fresh herbs you have, stems on $1 for a bunch
2 bay leaves optional
any vegetables you need to use up, chopped roughly optional
8 to 10 peppercorns pantry
4 whole cloves garlic smashed, (leave the peel intact) pantry
1 1/2 gallons water (22 cups)

DIRECTIONS:Place chicken, innards, vegetables, and herbs, peppercorns, and bay leaves (if using) in a 12-quart pot.

Add water and cover.

Cover and cook over high heat, until the mixture starts to boil.

Turn heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 6 hours.

As the stock cooks, skim the fat that floats to the top of the pot with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and occasionally for following 2 hours.

Add a bit more water if needed during cooking to keep the chicken and vegetables submerged.

Strain broth and salt to taste.

Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container.

After refrigerating, more fat may rise to the top of the broth. You may either skim it off with a spoon, or stir it in for a richer broth.

Serves 10-12. H

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