Yesterday’s whole chicken brings us to ~ Step 2, heavenly broth. We’ve brought our pressure cooker back to life recently and are using it more and more. It is a fantastic way to make good rich broths and stocks. However, if you don’t have a pressure cooker a good old heavy pot with snug fitting lid works well, as does your crockpot. In to the pot we go… If you’re like us, when you finish eating a nice roast chicken dinner you just don’t feel like pickin’ the chicken. So don’t. Wrap it in foil in the fridge and revisit it tomorrow. To make it easier to remove the meat from the bones, heat carcass in 200 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove all the good meat and reserve for soup or chicken salad :) Discard all skin and fat possible….we’ll skim off the rest of the fat later.
Put remaining chicken carcass and all bones, along with reserved gizzards, into pot. You can add chunks of carrot, celery, and/or onion, but it’s not essential. Add 1 bay leaf (or shake of old bay seasoning), 1 sprig fresh thyme (dried will work too), and 8-10 peppercorns. Fill pot with water to about an inch above ingredients. Cover tightly and bring to a gentle simmer. No need to boil, the flavors build through a long gentle simmer. If you’re using a traditional pot, you should plan on at least 6 hours, more if you have time. And you may need to skim foam off the top periodically. If you’re using a pressure cooker, keep it to the lowest possible rattle and plan on at least two hours.
Once broth has simmered desired length of time, pour through a colander reserving broth, discarding bones. Now it’s time to cool down the broth so that the fat separates and is easily skimmed off the top. This can take several hours to cool or even overnight in the fridge. Once you’ve skimmed the fat, I like to warm the broth and strain it one more time through a fine mesh sieve or even cheese cloth.
Now it’s ready to be turned into ~ Step 3, a special soup. Or, due to other dinner arrangements, this batch of broth is headed straight to the freezer.