How to Make Chicken Broth Without Vegetables
Chicken broth or chicken stock is usually made with either a whole chicken or a carcass and a variety of vegetables. Carrots, celery, and onions are the most popular vegetables used to improve the broth's depth, but a number of other options can also be used. What happens, however, when we wish to make chicken broth but don't have ready access to any appropriate vegetables? Is there a way we can still make a perfectly seasoned and usable broth, or do we have to significantly alter our plans? That is a question I recently had to ask myself.
The simple truth of this situation is that it was only when I had my chicken prepared and the carcass ready to start making the broth that a very pertinent thought occurred to me: I had forgotten to buy the vegetables I needed! The way I saw it, I had three obvious choices: I could abandon or delay my broth-making plans; I could make a second visit of the day to the supermarket; or I could improvise. Given that I wanted the broth prepared, refrigerated, and ready for use the following day—in addition to the fact that it was snowing heavily and extremely cold outside—I opted for the third and, what I saw to be, the logical option.
There are certain situations in cooking where we are bound by a very definite set of rules. For example, we know that chicken and similar poultry must always be properly cooked. This is non-negotiable if we are to eliminate the risk of serious illness or even death. In a similar sense, science dictates that when we are making pastries or cakes, the ingredient proportions have to be precise in order to avoid an oven disaster. Fortunately, in most instances, experimentation is not only possible, but it is also to be encouraged. After all, almost every food recipe on this planet came about either through experimentation on the part of its creator or by complete accident when something else was being attempted. With this reality very much in mind, I began my kitchen scavenge for potential chicken broth ingredients.
A few minutes later, I had tentatively decided on my broth ingredients from what herbs and seasonings I had available and was ready to proceed.
- Carcass of a three pound chicken (legs, thighs, wings and breast fillets removed)
- Small bunch of fresh chives
- 3 small garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Sea salt
- Enough cold water to cover the chicken
- Lay the chicken carcass in a stockpot comfortably big enough to contain it and the water. Add all the remaining ingredients, the water last of all.
- Put on high heat until the water begins to boil and reduce to achieve a steady simmer.
- If you want to salvage any remaining chicken meat on the carcass for later use, you should do this after about half an hour, before it becomes overcooked. Lift the chicken out of the pot with a large slotted spoon and cover on a plate until it is cool enough to handle. The heat under the pot should be turned off. Pick off the meat when cool enough to handle and return the bones to the pot for a further hour's simmering.
- Turn the heat off under the pot, put the lid on and leave for at least a couple of hours to cool.
- When you remove the lid from the pot, the cooled infusion will, in all honesty, look pretty disgusting. That, however, will quickly and easily be remedied. Use a large slotted spoon to remove and discard the chicken carcass and as many other solids from the pot as you can. Don't be too fastidious at this stage as the subsequent straining will remove any small solids that remain.
- When it comes to straining the broth, it is best to do so not only through a sieve but through some form of cloth. Muslin or cheesecloth is perfect. If you don't have either, kitchen paper works perfectly well. Suspend a sieve over a large bowl as shown and line it with three or four sheets of kitchen paper. Simply pour the broth in to strain in stages.
- This simple chicken broth, made without vegetables, is now ready to be used for your desired purpose.
Stage One: Boiling the Ingredients and Saving the Last of the Meat
Stage Two: Cooling the Broth and Sieving It
What Can I Make With Vegetable-Free Chicken Broth?
This chicken broth is suitable for any purpose where you would normally use chicken broth. It can be used in stews, casseroles, risottos, and any number of other dishes. Below is just one suggestion for using it as an incredibly quick and easy soup—in which the elusive vegetables are finally included, following a subsequent supermarket visit.
Note that any chicken that was removed from the carcass earlier could very effectively be included in this soup. In this instance, however, it had already been used for another purpose.
Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Although it may be unlikely that we would deliberately set out to prepare chicken broth in this fashion, it is good to know that options are available where—for whatever reason—we don't have all the usual ingredients. This chicken broth made a delicious soup, to an extent that few who did not know of the unconventional nature of the broth would ever even suspect.
- Strained chicken broth (two to three pints)
- 1 small leek
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 medium potatoes
- Generous handful of fresh parsley
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Return the sieved chicken broth to the washed stock or soup pot.
- Wash the leek and trim off the leaves and root end. Slice across the way in to quarter-inch discs. Top and tail the carrots and scrape. Chop two of them in a similar fashion to the leek and roughly grate the third. Peel and dice the potatoes to about three-quarters of an inch.
- Add all the vegetables to the chicken broth, and put the pot on high heat until the liquid just reaches a boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a gentle simmer for thirty minutes.
- Put the parsley in a colander and wash under running water. Chop it roughly, and add it to the soup for a further ten minutes' simmering time.
- The soup is now ready to serve and is accompanied above by two thick slices of French-style bread. Alternatively, it can be cooled and refrigerated for a couple of days or even frozen for up to three months.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this page. I hope at the very least it is something that may prove useful to you at some point in the future.
Any feedback or comments that you have may be left in the appropriate space below.