THE BLOG
01/24/2014 02:30 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2014

Homemade Chicken Broth from Scratch

Martin Brigdale via Getty Images

I recently realized that one of the first recipe blogs I ever did has disappeared from the cyber planet. And it happens to be the most important recipe of all! Homemade chicken broth from scratch is the basis for almost everything I believe in. It's so simple and easy, so valuable, so healing, and so freaking delicious.

My goal is to have a freezer stash at all times so that I can make a healing soup for anyone who's not feeling well, flavor recipes that call for broth, or just make tasty soups for dinner. It's essential and so very versatile. It also embodies my whole philosophy of food, which is that the absolute best things are totally simple and real.

Ain't nothing fake or fancy in this. Although numerous people have told me that organic ingredients make it taste much better. Of course that's the only kind I use.

Homemade Chicken Broth from Scratch

Ingredients:

You only need three things.
  • 1 Whole Organic Chicken
  • Water
  • Salt
Directions:
  1. The whole organic chicken can either be raw or previously roasted and eaten so all that's left is a carcass with bits of chicken on it. If it's raw, you don't need to do anything with it. If it's roasted, you don't need to do anything with it except make sure you capture all the juices, skin, and other parts (I don't use any of the organs, but a neck is good!). Place the chicken into a large soup pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until the chicken is covered. If you want to make a huge batch, use a huge chicken or two small ones. Whatever size chicken you're using, make sure the whole bird is covered with water.
  3. Bring it to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top.
  4. Turn the heat down to simmer and let it cook until the chicken surrenders its flavor. How will you recognize that? Well, one poke and it will all just fall apart. This usually takes about 2 hours, but you can keep it going for about 4 hours. Note: If you are hungry at this point, pull some of the meat off the bone, add a spoonful or two of broth and some salt--this is known in my house as the delicacy "salt chicken."
  5. Add salt to taste--it might seem like you're using a lot of salt, but it's what really brings out the flavor, and it's going to be less than in any store-bought bird.
  6. Turn the pot off and put the broth through a strainer into another pot. THIS is your liquid gold.
  7. If you are going to freeze it, freeze it without the meat in it. Funnel into jars, leaving an inch or two at the top for the broth to expand. Let it cool before you put it in the freezer.
  8. If you are going to make soup right away, pick the pieces of meat off the bone and add as much as you want into the broth. I like to store the meat separately off the bone to use in sandwiches or as a quick snack.
  9. There will be lots of gnarly bits and pieces left that you can share with pets if you have them (and are willing to separate by hand to make sure there are no bones left). My pets know this as "nectar of the gods."
From just one chicken, you can get a roast chicken dinner with homemade gravy, homemade chicken soup, extra broth to freeze, sandwich meat, and pet food. It's amazing. It's practical. It's delicious!

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com