chicken broth

chicken broth first series, bones to boil
chicken broth second series, boiled bones to sieve
sieved bones to ice tray
frozen chicken broth
The photos depict:

1) Chicken bones. Collect them all, save them from the plates of guests if you must. Get them before the cat does.
2) Bones broken open to expose the marrow. See the marrow? It's all exposed and ready to be boiled out.
3) Boiling bones with protein foam forms within the first few minutes if boiling
4) Boiling bones with the protein foam skimmed off. The protein foam will boil back into the liquid all by itself if left alone, but it adds a slightly bitter taste to the broth
5) Boiling bones under pressure. This went on for a few hours until I could smell the chicken in the room and a little while beyond. Pressure is not necessary. This can be done as easily in a pot with a lid but some of the liquid will evaporate and you might have to keep adding water. Plus, it smells up the place like cooking chicken for several hours and you might not want that. It gets to be a bit much.
6) The broth finished boiling with oil on the top. You can see it's not very much oil, not even enough to cover the surface. This means the chicken wasn't particularly fatty.
7) Broth and bones strained through a colander into another pot
8) Broth strained through a fine strainer back into the original pot
9) Broth in ice cube trays
10) Finished frozen broth cubes ready to be snatched up and used.

Please forgive the repetition, but home-made chicken broth is a cook's essential and worth repeating. I never tire of making it. It's fun! And I feel utterly bereft without it. How comforting it is knowing a satisfying bowl or cup of real soup is only a few ice cubes away. Any elaboration beyond straight up broth is an extravagance, like onions, garlic, pasta, frozen chicken bits, miso, herbs fresh or dry, curry powders, chili powders, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, or roasted tomato powder, or sun-dried tomatoes, any vegetable imaginable for that matter, shrimp, fish, mushrooms, truffles, see where this is going? The list is endless. It a base for sauces and gravies and creamed soups, it enriches dishes like scalloped potatoes and macaroni and cheese. It could probably even be added to bread although I've never tried that, because, what? Do you think I'm crazy?

Making broth from bones can be done any number of ways. I heard chefs say not to cook the bones for long, but frankly, I don't understand that. I boil the bones at length in an attempt to extract every last molecule of chickeny goodness possible. In order to assist that process, I break open the bones with pliers to expose the marrow. You can cook the bones with aromatics, onion, carrots, celery, etc., but I usually do not do that. I like the broth to be nothing but chicken, but tastes vary. I'm looking for gelatinous final product if cooled but my broth never gets the chance to gelatin-ify because I freeze it before that happens. I also usually do not remove the fat that forms into a layer at the top of the container when chilled. I freeze that along with the broth because I want chicken fat to go along with the broth. Chicken fat is good. Mmmmm, chicken fat. Schmaltz, the panacea of traditional Jewish mothers everywhere. Got a burn? BAM! Chicken fat. Got the sniffles? BAM! Chicken fat. Bee sting? BAM! Chicken fat. Cough? BAM! Chicken fat. Tuberculous, Black Plague, Malaria, Polio, Bi-polar disorder, high blood pressure, profound sense of injustice? BAM! Chicken fat.

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