I woke up in the middle of the night last night with swollen glands. Uggghh I don't have time to be sick! I guess that explains the general feeling of malaise I had during the week. I had a tough time shaking it, which is totally not me. I am generally a very positive person, happy in my life. Try to see the positive in every situation when possible.
So when I have a day that I wake up and can't shake off a mood? Must be something my body is fighting.
What's a gal to do? Make chicken broth of course!
It's really the easiest thing in the world to make at home and so much better by far than anything you will ever buy in the market. And if you happen to be a vegetarian you can eliminate the chicken and just double up on the veggies.
Start by gathering your ingredients. This is much more a tutorial than an actual recipe....
Chicken carcass - (Note: Whenever I make a roast chicken I save the carcass in the freezer to make chicken broth at a later date. You can do the same if you buy one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens.)
1 Head of Garlic (I used 2 because they were tiny....and because, well....garlic!! Yum!)
Celery - you can use either 2 - 3 stalks of celery or do what I do which is use the leafy top of the celery stalk that isn't good for much else (unless you want to use it for a garnish in a bloody mary....yes, please!)
Carrots - about 2 whole carrots. I didn't have any picked out of the garden so I left them out.
Parsley - fresh if you have it, dried if you don't. A good amount. Probably a good tablespoon or more if using dried, a handful if fresh.
3 bay leaves
I also throw in a little of the Vermont Country Seasoning shown below. Because I have it. Any herb based seasoning would really work.
Throw the chicken carcass (frozen) into the bottom of your largest crock pot bowl. My crock pot has 3 sizes so I use the largest....if yours only has one size just use what you've got. You can also do this on the stove in a large stockpot but I don't like leaving the stove on for 24 hours so....crockpot works for me!
Chop the celery very roughly into large pieces, same with the carrots if you are using them, and throw them right in on top of the chicken. I threw in a couple of string beans I had in the fridge also just because I had them and they needed to be used up. And in went the parsley.
Cut the onions and garlic head in half and throw it all in. Leave the skins on . You're discarding eveyrthing but the broth at the end so you don't have to be fussy here.
Add about a tablespoon of whole peppercorns, a half teaspoon of herbed seasoning, and a half teaspoon of dried thyme leaves. And 3 bay leaves.
Fill the crockpot with water - I use water right from the tap since I have a whole-house filter. You may want to use filtered water if you don't. Your call.
Plug it in, put it on low, and leave it for at least 24 hours. That's when the magic happens, when everything breaks down and comes together. It has to be left for a minimum of 24 hours. I've even left it for longer (about 36 hours) and it was just fine.
It seriously takes about 10 minutes to throw it together into the crock pot (if even! That was with taking photos of each step!) and at the end you have a beautiful chicken stock you can use for the base of your soups, stews, whatever. I often do this in the morning before work and the following morning strain it out and put it in the fridge.
When it's been simmering on low for at least 24 hours, let it cool a little and then remove all the larger stuff to a bowl to cool for a while before throwing out.
I usually put as much of the chicken that came off the carcass aside for my pups. They love it mixed in with their dry food!
Then I put a large bowl into the sink, put a fine mesh strainer over it, and pour the broth into the bowl, emptying the strainer as necessary when it fills with scraps.
It goes into the fridge overnight at this point. In the morning, any fat in the broth will have solidified and can be skimmed off with a spoon. The rest goes into quart size freezer bags and into the freezer to be pulled out as needed.
And some of it will be going to make me some good old Chicken Noodle Soup this weekend to hopefully head off this cold that's trying to get me down.
Our temps are heading into the teens this weekend as an overnight low and they are predicting snow showers. Nothing like a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a nice fire to make you feel right with the world again!