The to-do list is getting shorter, but the holidays are still weeks away. To stay ahead, we’ve got a plan for you to freeze a few dinners for when you’re exhausted from shopping and gift-wrapping, but we also want to talk about one of the best things to have in your freezer: homemade chicken broth. Using store-bought broth is convenient, but making your own is easier than you think – and really worth the effort. It’s a flavourful base for quick soups and sauces, and making a big batch takes just as much time as making a small one!
Here’s what you need:
1. A slow cooker or a pot large enough to contain water, bones and vegetables.
2. Chicken bones are the main ingredient. Use a large freezer bag to save chicken backs, necks, wings and even the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. When the bag is full (or at least 1.5 kg), it’s broth time. Pre-roasting bones will give broth an extra boost of flavour. You’ll also end up with a darker broth that is perfect for stews. Skip the roasting, and the broth will be more golden – it’s up to you.
3. Use vegetables like carrots, celery or onions to add richness to the broth. If you find a few limp carrots or celery during a fridge clean, don’t toss them. Wash and cut them into big chunks before adding to the broth.
4. Add a mild herb like bay leaf, a small handful of peppercorns or a few thin slices of fresh ginger. The broth will be simmering for hours and these ingredients will help it transform. It’s always best to add salt, if needed, at the end of cooking.
5. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or resealable container. Cool slightly and refrigerate overnight. The fat will rise to the top and set. Skim it off and discard.
6. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or in 1-cup muffin tin portions. Once frozen, soak bottoms of trays or muffin tin in warm water for a few seconds, then pop out the frozen broth and store in resealable plastic bags. (Don’t forget to label and date them.) Then let them lie flat in the freezer so they stack easily. They’ll keep well for about three months.
7. Note down the amount of broth you have. Tack them to the front of the freezer door to help you keep track. (This will also work for tomorrow’s big-batch cooking task.)
Here are a few suggestions for how to use your chicken broth:
Warm up in under an hour with our classic chicken soup – it’s the ultimate comfort food (and under 400 calories!).
Don’t feel like soup? Try this risotto (and forget endless stirring). You can start it on the stove, then pop it in the oven and walk away.
Use two frozen muffin pan portions of broth to make this gravy for your roast turkey. It’ll only take 10 min instead of 40.
Happy simmering and freezing! And don’t forget to share your progress with us on social media using the hashtag #kitchenfix
Associate Food Editor