Broth, Stock & Barrel—Part One

Adding cracked pepper to a pot of broth

Preparing homemade broth or stock makes a heart healthy alternative to store-bought brands.

Broth or stock is the base for many of our favorite recipes. Both create an additional layer of flavor, adding complexity to soups, gravies, sauces and more. The addition of a bit of stock or broth can even make a can of store-bought veggies taste like you slaved over them at the stove.

But some of you have asked, “What’s the difference between broth and stock? Aren’t they the same thing?” In this two-part post, we’ll discuss how these things vary from one another, and will also give you easy to follow directions so you can create your own that is low in calories, carbs, cholesterol and fat.

Broth is used around the globe and is one of the simplest soups to make. Using everyday ingredients like poultry, vegetables and herbs deepens the flavor of this thin, clear liquid. How does broth vary from stock? Simply put, broth utilizes meat (in our case, a whole chicken is used) while stock is made from bones (we’ll use beef bones) rather than meat. Meat adds flavor while bones contribute body.

Although both broth and stock may contain similar ingredients (aside from the bones or meat, of course), broth cooks differently. It simmers less than stock and has a lighter, fresher flavor. Yet neither is difficult to prepare. In fact, with a little planning, there’s no reason you should ever have to buy canned stock or broth again!

Once you make your broth and strain out the fat and ingredients, it is easy to store. You can do so in a variety of ways, whether you choose to store it in plastic containers, ice-cube trays or in resealable plastic bags. Both broth and stock can be kept refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. The only exception to this rule would be if you chose to create fish stock, which can only be stored for two months in the freezer before it goes bad.

Now that you know broth basics, let’s get to cookin’!

Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth can be stored in a variety of containers and frozen for up to three months!

Chicken Broth

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 2 hours
  • 6-pound hen or 6-pounds chicken pieces, washed and patted dry
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 3 celery ribs with leaves, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours.
  2. Pour broth through a strainer, discarding vegetables and herbs. Set chicken aside and allow to cool. Cover broth and chill thoroughly. Skim and discard solidified fat from top of broth. Shred chicken, discard bones, and store meat in a plastic container or resealable bag for future use. (This cooked meat is great in soup, casseroles, and even chicken salad!)
  3. Store broth in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw and use as directed in recipes that call for chicken broth.

MONEY SAVING TIP: Before you prepare your next batch of chicken broth, reserve parts of the chicken you may normally discard when cooking (like backs, necks, etc.) in a plastic bag in the freezer. Then, when you want to make broth, you may have enough loose parts to prepare it without having to buy another chicken!

YIELDS: 10 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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