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How to Make Chicken Broth Without Vegetables

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

This delicious chicken broth was made with only a chicken carcass, water, herbs, and seasoning.

This delicious chicken broth was made with only a chicken carcass, water, herbs, and seasoning.

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.

The leg portions, wings, and breast fillets were removed from this chicken to serve a variety of purposes, and the carcass's remainders were used to make the broth.

The leg portions, wings, and breast fillets were removed from this chicken to serve a variety of purposes, and the carcass's remainders were used to make the broth.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. 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.
  2. Put on high heat until the water begins to boil and reduce to achieve a steady simmer.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn the heat off under the pot, put the lid on and leave for at least a couple of hours to cool.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

Improvised ingredients for vegetable free chicken broth are added to a large stock pot

Improvised ingredients for vegetable free chicken broth are added to a large stock pot

Remaining meat on chicken carcass is cooked

Remaining meat on chicken carcass is cooked

Chicken carcass cool enough to handle

Chicken carcass cool enough to handle

Chicken meat picked from the carcass

Chicken meat picked from the carcass

Stage Two: Cooling the Broth and Sieving It

The cooled chicken broth infusion does not look particularly appealing in its initial form

The cooled chicken broth infusion does not look particularly appealing in its initial form

Solids have been scooped from chicken broth

Solids have been scooped from chicken broth

Straining the chicken broth

Straining the chicken broth

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.

Quick and easy chicken and vegetable soup with dunkers

Quick and easy chicken and vegetable soup with dunkers

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Return the sieved chicken broth to the washed stock or soup pot.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Strained chicken broth

Strained chicken broth

Vegetables for soup

Vegetables for soup

Prepared vegetables are added to the chicken broth

Prepared vegetables are added to the chicken broth

Parsley should firstly be washed through a colander

Parsley should firstly be washed through a colander

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.

Comments

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on May 20, 2019:

Thank you, Liam. I hope this idea and these tips work out for you as well as they have done so often for me.

Fin from Barstow on May 10, 2019:

well nice tips and sounds good. I have tried making homemade broth myself but it is always bland. will try this sometime.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on January 09, 2019:

That is a point which has been widely argued, Sarah, and I don't suppose there will ever be a true definition applied. Technically, it is a lily - so does that make it a flower? I prefer to think of it as a spice but opinions certainly vary, that's for sure. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sarah on January 08, 2019:

garlic is a vegetable dude...

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on November 12, 2018:

Thank you, Michael. I'm glad this recipe will prove useful to you. It sounds like a great way to make rice.

Michael Rains from Salt Lake City, UT on November 11, 2018:

A good broth is very useful in the kitchen and this is a great (and easy) way to always have broth on hand. I like to use broth when I make rice as s simple way to add amazing flavor. Thanks!

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 03, 2018:

I'm very glad the information was used to you, Mrs Webbeking and that you are still going so strong. I hope you enjoy your broth.

Brookings, Oregon, Mrs. Joyce Webbeking, Age 91 & 3/4 yrs.going strong. on September 01, 2018:

Family always had chickens, prepared various ways and delicious. Today I had

intended using 4 very big chicken legs/thighs and NO TIME to get vegetables.

Thanks for the video and what a wonderful broth I will use a bit later.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on June 03, 2018:

Hi, Dale. Thanks for commenting and good luck with trying out this idea. No problem re the name slip :)

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 29, 2018:

Oops! Was talking to Linda and posted that in my last comment. Sorry mate! It won't happen again.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 29, 2018:

Gudday Linda! Love it and going to give your chicken broth a shot. I make chicken broth reasonably regularly so I am keen to see how I can make this one turn out. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

Abdul Haadi from Lahore, Pakistan. on November 27, 2017:

Yummm! A must tried recipe!

podge on March 06, 2017:

I do it all the time no veg broth more flaver

Parazgara from Polska on February 15, 2017:

Nice idea! In Poland broth soup we eat almost every sunday at lunch/dinner.

Molly Layton from Alberta on May 14, 2015:

This looks tasty!

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on February 09, 2015:

I hope you put the broth to great use, Marja. Thanks for visiting and for letting me know you found the information useful.

Marja on February 09, 2015:

Thank you so much for this, it is exactly what i needed ☺

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 25, 2011:

Hi, Silver Fish. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

It is straining the broth through the cloth (or kitchen paper) that above all helps to make it so clear, by removing even the finest of impurities. It only takes a couple of minutes and is well worth the little bit extra effort.

Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on December 24, 2011:

Lovely hub, I am very impressed with the clarity of the stock. Is that to do with ingredients or cooking temperature?

Anytime I have tried this I end up with a very cloudy liquor.

Voted up- and Merry Christmas.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 22, 2011:

Thank you, Peggy and randomcreative. It certainly sounds as though you have plenty options, Peggy. I am certainly going to experiment further with this wholly accidental discovery and see what else I can come up with. I hope if you get the chance to do likewise, your broth is delicious.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 22, 2011:

Great resource! Thanks!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2011:

Your chicken broth sounds like it would have been well flavored with the ingredients you used. Great substitutions! We always have chives, even garlic chives growing in our garden and always have herbs on hand either fresh or dried...so making this could easily be accomplished. Thanks!

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 22, 2011:

Thank you, J Burgraff. I'm glad that this information will be useful to you. It is undoubtedly a common problem, whether we have forgotten to buy the vegetables or simply just not counted on needing them. I hope that you come up with a good combination of ingredients for making your own alternative broth in this way.

J Burgraff on December 22, 2011:

Great hub. Well written and useful. I have many times found myself with carcass, sans veggies, and because I have had in my mind the thought that "no veggies, no stock" I have thrown the carcass away. No more. Thanks.