One of the things that I’m discovering through this process of abstaining from factory farmed meat (and products) is that I lose access to pretty much all convenience food items (like chicken broth, canned soup, packaged gravy mixes, and of course, prepackaged meals). Having to make things from scratch isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. But it does require some planning and a little extra time. On the plus side, it is very cost-effective, you can control the amount of fat and sodium content, there are no preservatives or unwanted chemicals (have you seen the news about potentially cancer-causing agents that are present in all commercially canned foods?), and – oh yes- in most cases, it is much more delicious!
Today, I am making a large pot of chicken/vegetable stock to be frozen and used at a later time. I am making the stock from the water that I used to boil two chicken breasts (for today’s meals). Since the meat products that I am buying are significantly higher per pound than their factory farmed counterparts, it’s very important to get as much value and as many uses from the meat as possible. In other words, I’m buying less meat and not letting any of it go to waste (keeping my meat budget very much in-line with what it was before).
Using the same water in which I cooked the chicken (I needed to add more water in order to fill a large pot), I added onion (quartered), a clove of garlic (halved), two carrots (halved), several celery stalks including the leaves (I use the stalks in the center of the bunch that are small and have the most leaves still intact), course fresh-ground pepper, salt, and I use fresh cilantro (just a small handful), you can use any fresh herbs that you prefer or have on hand. Just bring to a rapid boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low heat for a good long while (I always simmer mine for at least an hour, sometimes more if I forget that it’s going). Be sure to taste it and season additionally, if needed. Once it’s ready, pour through a strainer into a pitcher or large bowl, refrigerate or allow broth to come to room temperature, then portion out for later use. I freeze mine in popsicle molds that I have, but you could use ice trays or even zip lock bags. If you use the molds or ice trays, just remove once broth is frozen and place in freezer bags for storage.
Voila! Homemade stock ready to use whenever you need it.