Until we began reading labels closely, homemade stock or broth was never a priority. We believed the commercial products were completely acceptable, but that was before we tasted what homemade is like. There is simply no commercial substitute for the wholesomeness, the taste, and the freedom from unwanted ingredients that you can enjoy with homemade broth.
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Homemade chicken broth
Homemade broth is a delicious way to maximize the flavor of your soups and sauces. When you start reading labels and trying to avoid salt and sugars, you might welcome the opportunity to create your own version to avoid the sodium and other unwanted ingredients. In a concentrated form, it also provides a sodium free seasoning for almost any food. Most of the time involved in making broth is cooking or passive time, so you'll need to be at home, but you can do plenty of other things while it is cooking and simmering.
When you prep celery, carrots and onions, clean the vegetables first (removing the paper from onions and rinsing them). Then when you trim them, or scrape the carrots, you can save the trimmings. This also goes for shallots, leeks, green onions and other aromatic vegetables and herbs. Anything that is clean, unblemished and still fresh enough to cook with can go in the freezer for broth.
When you roast a chicken or buy and eat a rotisserie chicken, just throw the carcass in the freezer after you've eaten what you want. You don't even have to worry about trimming all the meat off, because it will help flavor the broth.
In the Instant Pot
When you're ready to make broth, put the frozen chicken carcasses in the Instant Pot, then fit as many of the vegetables around them as you can. Depending on the size of your Instant Pot and how the leftovers were shaped when you froze them, you should be able to fit the leftovers from 1 or 2 chickens into the pot.
Add water to the fill line for your Instant Pot. Be sure to allow a little room for the water level to rise if there are frozen ingredients sticking up above the water.
Add the apple cider vinegar and bay leaves and close the Instant Pot. Set it to cook under pressure for about 30 minutes. Be sure the valve that allows pressure to release is in the closed position.
The Instant Pot will take about 20 minutes to reach pressure, maybe a little longer if everything is frozen. Then it will cook for the time you have set, and will switch to a low holding temperature. There's no particular time you have to take it out, but you'll want to leave time in your day for the next stages, so plan to open it within at least an hour or two after it's done.
Straining and simmering
Once the instant pot is done, use a slotted spoon to remove the larger pieces of vegetables, chicken and bones. Discard these, then strain the broth through a sieve into a large stock pot. This will remove any scraps of chicken, skin, and vegetables.
Using a second large pan (or clean and reuse the insert of your Instant Pot if you prefer), strain the stock a second time, this time with cheesecloth or coffee filters inside the sieve. This will remove smaller bits of ingredients and -- more importantly -- will filter out some of the fat that cooked off the chicken. It will also result in a clearer broth.
Simmer the stock in the stock pot for at least 1-2 hours on a low setting on your stove to reduce it and intensify the flavor. The color of the stock will become slightly darker as it simmers. It's all right for bubbles to rise to the top, but don't actually boil it. The longer you simmer it, the more concentrated it will become. This recipe description assumes you'll reduce it by about 1/3, from a starting point of 12 cups to about 8 cups.
When you're ready to finish the stock, remove it from the heat and let it cool. To speed cooling, fill your sink with cold water (and ice, if available) and set the pan down in it, being careful not to let water get into the broth. A soon as the broth is lukewarm, refrigerate it for several hours or overnight to allow any remaining fat to congeal on top.
The next morning, skim off any fat on top of the broth and put it into jars or containers for freezing. For soups, 16 or 32 ounce jars should work. If you cooked down the broth to a very concentrated level, you might want to use smaller containers, or even ice cube trays, to freeze it into smaller amounts.
You don't have to make homemade broth in order to have a healthy food lifestyle, but it gives you an excellent ingredient for many of your recipes that is free of unwanted ingredients. In addition, your soups will taste richer and you will have the foundation for our "All purpose sauce" that makes almost any vegetable or meat taste better.
This recipe is for chicken broth, but you could use the same technique for vegetable broth or for turkey or beef broth. Be sure the meat is cooked first, because the roasting and searing process deepens the flavor. We rely on aromatic vegetables; we do not suggest using cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts), since they can impart bitterness.