Buying chicken, beef, or vegetable stock is easy, but it’s not all that healthy. Some are very high in sodium, gluten, and other bad-for-you stuff. Plus, who knows what kind of chicken or beef these manufacturers are using–Eww! So, I try to make my own. It is time- and labor-intensive, but the result is much healthier, and I know exactly what’s in it. These all freeze well, so I divide the soups into individual plastic tubs (recycle those butter tubs, Nanny!), label and freeze.
For chicken broth: 1 or 2 whole fryer chickens
For beef broth: 3-4 tbspns. olive oil, and 3 or 4 lbs., preferably bone-in beef roast
For vegetable broth: just the veggies
8-10 whole baby carrots, or 4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 large onions, quartered 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 whole cloves garlic 6 sprigs fresh oregano
6 stalks celery, roughly chopped 6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
6 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped 6 sprigs fresh basil leaves
2 cobs of corn, chopped in 2″ sections 1/4 cup No-Salt Herb Seasoning
6 whole mushrooms 1/4 tsp. sea salt
The vegetables should be in big pieces; as they cook down, the cooking process will break them down considerably.
Rinse the fresh herbs and tie into a bundle with kitchen string.
For chicken: Rinse the chicken(s) thoroughly, and remove the neck and packet of organs. Place the chicken(s) in a large, deep gumbo pot. Add the neck and the heart, liver, gizzard.
For beef: Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large gumbo pot; add the beef roast and sear all sides thoroughly, turning often, for about 10 minutes.
Add the roughly chopped vegetables and enough water to cover, about 6-8 cups. Add the fresh herb bundle and seasoning and stir carefully. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is falling apart and the veggies are soft. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle.
Remove the meat and as much of the vegetables as possible, using a large slotted spoon. Carefully pour the remainder of the broth through a strainer into another large pot. Discard the vegetables, and de-bone the chicken, freezing in gallon-sized baggies for later use. Do the same with the beef roast.
I usually wind up with about 8-10 cups of broth.