The soul of any soup is its stock. If you have a bland stock or broth you will have a bland soup, no matter how good the other ingredients are. Who wants to eat a bland soup? No one! This incredibly flavorful Chicken Broth Recipe will take any soup to the next level!
Store bought broth
With so many decent stocks and broths available in stores, why should you make your own?
For me, it boils down to three simple reasons.
First, I can control the amount of fat and salt and end up with a healthier stock.
Second, I can use up ingredients from other meals.
Third, and most important, is that it simply tastes better. When’s the last time you heard someone say “this has too much flavor”?
A good chicken stock starts off with simple ingredients. Obviously, you will need chicken bones and cartilage. This can come from a roasted chicken or bought as is. You can add meat if you like, but it’s the bones and connective tissue that will add the most flavor.
Adding layers of flavor
Aside from the chicken you will need some aromatic vegetables, with the classic choices being carrots, onions and celery. Leeks, fennel root and parsnips are other veggies that I like to use. To this base of aromatics, I always add fresh garlic.
Regardless of which ones you choose, they should be chopped roughly, not too small.
Fresh herbs add to the party
The last ingredients to choose are the herbs and spices. It’s best to use fresh, whole herbs where you can. Thyme, sage, parsley, oregano and bay leaves are my usual choices. The last spice to add is pepper corns, which you can just toss in. One thing I don’t add is salt, because I can always add it to the recipes I use the stock in.
Tip: To make life easy, use some food safe string like butcher’s twine to tie the herbs into a bundle, and tie the other end of the string to one of the pot handles, or to a wooden spoon. This will allow you to remove it easily.
Chicken Broth Recipe
- 1 (4-pound) chicken, whole
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 medium carrots, quartered,
- 2 stalks celery, quartered
- 1 leek, dark tops only
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and quartered, optional
- 3 generous sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 3 generous sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- About 4 quarts water
- Combine the chicken, vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns in a large stockpot. Pour in enough water to just cover the chicken completely. Heat the water to just under a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, so that 1 or 2 bubbles break the surface of the broth about once a minute. Skim any fat and scum from the surface with a ladle, large spoon, or skimmer. (To prevent losing a lot of stock when skimming, put the skimmed liquid into a degreasing cup, and return any useable broth back to the pot.) Cook for about 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through but not dry.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, but continue to simmer the broth. Cool the chicken for about 10 minutes. Cut the chicken meat from the bone, and reserve for a chicken salad, soup, or other recipe. Return the bones to the pot and cook for 1 hour.
- Strain into a non-reactive container, like another pot, a large bowl, or plastic quart or pint containers. Fill the sink with a mixture of ice and cold water so it comes about halfway up the sides of the container. Nestle the broth in the ice bath. (Stirring the broth speeds up the cooling process.) Cover and refrigerate or freeze the broth for future use. Broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If the broth is unused after 5 days bring it to a boil before using.
This chicken broth recipe will make a great foundation to any of your recipes.
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