I think autumn has finally (really and truly) arrived in Phoenix. Anyone reading this outside of Arizona who thinks I’m nuts should keep in mind our day time highs are only just now holding steady at about 80°. And, true to form, my toes are cold. I can see you smirking. Just remember, temperatures are relative. That which makes us Phoenicians able to survive 115° in July (albeit murderously hot, loudly complaining and basically miserable), means some of us are cold at 80ish…or at least our toes are.
The other thing changing temperatures mean is the onslaught of cold and flu season. I’ve been to two large networking events in the last week where I shook hands with scads of people who were potentially incubating something. I hugged a client last night only to find out she’s on something like 17 different meds for the worst sinus infection the ER doctor had ever seen. Great! Hours later, I wake myself up coughing in the middle of the night. Super great!
So, all day long I wanted soup. As you might imagine, I’m a soup snob…nothing out of a box or can for me. Its GOTTA be homemade. To quote my long time friend, “why would you pay $3.00 for a box of broth when you can buy a whole chicken for slightly more than that? That way you get the broth and the chicken.” Amen, sister.
Chicken soup is known for its healing powers. They don’t call it Polish penicillin for nothing. Google it and you’ll see. Plus, chicken broth is a just good, clean food. You can pretty much add anything you want to the broth and still have a filling, low calorie, high protein meal. I feel practically virtuous eating soup.
Just knowing the chicken was simmering on the stove made me feel better. So, if you’re cold (or you have a cold or you feel like you’re getting a cold), I encourage you to make your own broth. The prep time is minimal, the ingredients are few and the cooking is basically unattended. From there, the sky is the limit. Homemade broth is a great backdrop for a bazillion other soup recipes. Stay tuned because I’m going to be posting my favorites this month!
- One whole chicken
- One yellow onion – quartered with skin left on (this deepens the color of the stock)
- 3 stalks celery cut into large pieces
- 2 carrots cut into large pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper (avoids black flecks in your broth)
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 2 bay leaves
Clean out the chicken and discard the innards. Rinse the cavity until the water runs clear. Place the chicken in a large stock pot (bonus points if yours has a strainer like mine in the picture). Add vegetables and seasonings. Cover with water leaving at least two inches below the rim of the pot so it doesn’t boil over. Heat on medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.
When the broth is done, carefully remove the cooked chicken. Once it cools, debone the chicken. Package the chicken separately for use in other recipes. Discard the veggies. Allow the broth to cool and skim the fat from top. Store in plastic containers; I find 4-cup containers to be handy size. Freezes well.
Kat’s tip: I usually toss the veggies that cook in the broth since I find their texture unappealing. Plus, after they’ve been simmering for 2 plus hours all of their nutrients have surely leached out. I add fresh (or frozen) veggies and any combination of cooked rice, pasta or beans to bulk up the broth.
There are barely any calories in homemade broth, WAY less sodium that store-bought and no fat if you cool the soup and skim it. I would estimate about 10 calories a cup and 230 mgs of sodium.