Sunday, March 9, 2008

Three Dinner Chicken: Part III

This chicken broth can best be described as “scrappy”. And I mean that in the best sense of the word, like:

“Wow, did you see the play that shortstop just made? (S)he sure is scrappy.”

This is the broth that nothing is getting by. You are looking in your refrigerator, wondering what to make for dinner, and chances are you have ingredients to make broth (in this case chicken) which is a versatile ingredient for many a meal.

So where do you start? For me, it is with a leftover chicken from Part I and Part II of a roast chicken, and hopefully, though not necessarily, some onions, carrots, celery and other assorted herbs. I also just read a Miserly Moms tip about saving carrot peels and assorted onion and celery leftovers to make vegetable stock … I am going to give it a try and will let you know how it goes.

I used the broth from this round of three dinner chicken to try out a Citrus Risotto recipe from the Zuni Café Cookbook. I am a risotto novice and this well written recipe was very approachable. The risotto was tasty but didn’t make the cut… as in: It wasn’t quite good enough to go ‘in the book’, that being my little recipe collection where our favorites are stored. So for now, here are the broth basics.

Thrifty Kitchen Chicken Broth

I keep all the leftovers from the previous nights’ chicken, but discard the congealed juices and fats that accumulate around the chicken. These may be tasty, but my instinct tells me they add more fat than flavor. Or is the fat the flavor? Mmm?

Servings: ~10 cups broth
Cost: $3.50
Time: 10 mins active, 1-1.5 hours total
Chicken carcass, bones skin and any remaining meat
1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 sprigs fresh herbs (optional)
Salt to taste

In a medium large pot place chicken, onion, carrots, celery and any herbs. Cover with water so no parts of the chicken are above the surface. If you find yourself adding more water to cover a leg or a wing of the chicken, chances are this piece can be removed and nestled in with the other ingredients. Without stirring the ingredients, bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat. Use a spoon to remove any foam that accumulates on the surface of the broth. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Check occasionally to remove any additional foam and to taste broth for saltiness. Depending on how the chicken was cooked you may not need to add any salt. Strain the broth through a colander into another pot or container to cool. Remove onion, carrot, celery, herbs and chicken pieces.

For the risotto, I let the broth stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using in the recipe, and scraped away a “cap” or layer of fat that was developing on the surface of the broth before incorporating it into the recipe. The remaining broth may congeal when stored in the refrigerator, but I don’t let this slow me down… it is great to use in soup and/or other crockpot recipes.

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