There exists an unfortunate tendency to neglect the basics in life. We all want it yesterday, without effort, without pain, and preferably free. Basics are regarded as boring and annoying details which inconveniently insinuate themselves between us and our desires.
For those who see (or even suspect) the emptiness of this perspective, I offer the current “basic” broth made in our kitchen. Although the title is “chicken broth,” a “bone” broth may be made from the bones of beef, lamb, fish, chicken, duck, turkey, or any other creature who has graced your table. The ingredients listed here work well with chicken, and your creativity is encouraged when making other broths. Here are some of the reasons we feel broths are important:
We don’t eat that many whole chickens, but when we do, one of our favorite preparations is a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth dish called Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, which is cooked in a clay cooker. When we’re finished, the bones, remaining juices, garlic, etc. go into a container in the freezer. Any other chicken, duck, or other fowl bones get added to our supply. When our stash of stock runs low, we pull out the bones and a twelve quart stock pot. Porcelain and copper are our favorite choices. Avoid aluminum, even anodized aluminum. Aluminum is a neurotoxin which will slowly poison you.
Into the pot go the bones, scraps, and juices. But wait, I got ahead of myself. We keep dedicated channel lock pliers in a kitchen drawer for crushing the bones before they go in the pot. The marrow in long bones is what tonifies blood and essence so effectively. Without crushing the bones, this treasure would never become part of the stock.
Now we can add the other ingredients. First, there are the usual:
Fill the pot with fresh, filtered water, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about eight hours. We often simmer this over a slow wood fire in the winter. Near the end I may replenish the aromatic spices so their fragrance returns to the brew. Keep in mind that we don’t really measure these things. Feel free to embellish or pull back where you like.
When it has cooled, decant the liquid into pint sized food containers with lids so they may be easily accessed when they’re frozen. This should give you a pretty good stash. If you anticipate the need for very small amounts, pour some into an ice cube tray. Be sure to place it in a stout plastic bag so it doesn’t take on the smell of freezer. You’ll find new uses and new ways to imbibe in this surprisingly nourishing “basic.”
When you run low in the freezer, it’s time for another chicken. Incidentally, if you live in New Mexico, treat yourself to a Pollo Real. These organic chickens from Socorro are range fed in the open air on a natural diet better than most of us eat. They’re delicious, and are often available at La Montanita Food Co-op. Ask for them if you don’t see them.
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