This week, I’ve been battling this year’s nasty spring cold. It’s particularly annoying this year, keeping me up at night with congestion and coughing, and making it nearly impossible to be productive during the day with headaches and no motivation whatsoever to move once I’ve plopped myself onto the couch. What could possibly help in the face of such misery? What grandmothers across this country have fed sick grandchildren for generations: homemade chicken soup.
I’m not a patient person, so when I make homemade broth, I like to use the pressure cooker. You can definitely use a regular stock pot, but it will take a long time and you’ll have to add water every so often because it will evaporate before the bones fall apart. Another great alternative is to put everything in the slow cooker (or two slow cookers, depending on how much you’re making), and walk away for eight hours. This time, though, I wasn’t waiting more than a couple of hours — I was miserable and wanted that comforting golden liquid now!
Homemade broth or stock sounds intimidating to a lot of people, but it’s actually very easy. My version is a strange hybrid of broth, stock, and bone broth. If you’re not sure what the difference is, check out this great article from Epicurious. I don’t like to make lots of different broths, it’s just too much trouble. This chicken broth is delicious to drink on its own, makes a great base for sauces, and is the perfect backdrop for any soup.
Homemade Chicken Broth
- Bones from 2 – 3 chickens (preferably raw) You can use chicken backs, wings, necks, basically any trimmings from the chicken that you don’t use for dinner
- 3 stalks celery, broken in half
- 2 large or 4 small carrots, broken in half — no need to peel
- 1 large or 2 small onions, cut in half
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns or 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- Herbs of choice (fresh parsley and dill are really nice if you have them)
- 12 cups water
- A splash of apple cider vinegar
- Place everything in the pressure cooker, seal the lid according to the manufacturer’s directions, and bring to pressure.
- Once the pressure builds, lower the heat so that the pressure is at a low hiss, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- Let the pressure dissipate naturally or use the quick release valve to release the pressure.
- Strain the broth, cool, and divide into jars and store in the freezer.
I used this broth to make a quick chicken and rice soup with some leftover rice and leftover roasted chicken. A great use of leftovers and a deliciously comforting soup, too!