It’s really been awhile since I’ve done any posting. I know! Bad Blogger! But it’s time……

This morning I awoke all snuggled into my husband and my nice warm bed. Great start to the day. But then I pulled off the covers and BRRRRR it was cold. As strange as this may sound I pictured a chicken boiling in a pot. LOL!!! I couldn’t help myself. After breakfast I assembled the makings for many meals!

Before I continue, I have had a couple of my friends ask me how to make chicken broth that is not fatty so here is a tutorial. As some of you know my kids are grown up and moved out. It’s just my hubby and I so our food stretches much further now. This is a good thing considering how expensive and…..well……processed our foods are. I much prefer “from scratch” and “real” food. One fryer chicken can make ingredients for many other meals it just takes a little more time to do. But believe me, it’s worth it.

Chicken Soup and more

Get several different meals from one little fryer chicken.

Here’s a list of ingredients:

1 fryer chicken
several cloves of garlic
2 or 3 carrots
2 or 3 stalks of celery
1 whole medium onion
4 or 5 stalks of fresh sage
2 tsp salt
enough water to cover

Pretty simple so far…..and it doesn’t get any harder. Chop your carrots, celery and onion how ever you like. I do mine in chunks so it’s easy to remove at the end. Smash and roughly chop the garlic as well. I personally use 6 or 8 cloves but I love garlic. A little trick, put your salt on the cutting board and smash your garlic on top of it. The salt soaks up that precious garlic juice.

Put your washed chicken in a good sized pot (dutch oven or stock pot works nicely). Now, if you have planned ahead and your chicken is thawed, remove the skin. If you are like me most days and the chicken is frozen solid, don’t worry about it. Just put it in the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover everything with water. Put on your lid and turn the heat to medium to get it started. Once it bubbles turn it to low and walk away for several hours. Three or four is usually sufficient.

We haven’t been grocery shopping yet so I had to use up the last few dregs of veg from the crisper. If you find your garlic has started to sprout, cut it in half length wise and remove the green bits. These green bits tend to leave a bitter taste. I had three well sprouted cloves so I planted them! This year I am going to experiement at the trailer with raised garden beds and container gardening.

When you feel your stock is probably ready (meat is falling off the bones) remove it from the heat and let it cool down for half an hour so you can handle it without being burned.

Pull out the chicken. I usually put it in a colander and let drain over the pot for a few minutes. Set this aside, Strain out all the veg and sage and put that aside as well. Pour your broth into a heat resistant bowl or big measuring jug. Set it aside while you work so it will be cool enough to put in the fridge.

At this point it’s a good idea to know what meals you want to prepare with your chicken. This time I am making chicken pies and of course some chicken soup. Strip your carcass baby! Make sure to remove all the skin and as much fat and gristly stuff as you can. (Throw it away!) How you cut up your meat will depend on what you are making. Once you have completed this messy task make sure you totally clean your work suface, put those dishes in the sink and wash your hands. When working with chicken you must make sure you clean up so bacteria can’t grow and make you sick.

Now on to your veg. I remove the sage. It has done it’s job at this point. The rest of the veg I cut up and add them to my planned dishes.

At this point you can stop what you are doing, if you run out of time, and freeze your chicken and veg. I usually do this in freezer bags.

Making chicken pie is so easy. Just make up a two crust pastry recipe. Or double it if you are using the whole chicken for this dish. In a pan simmer the chicken and veg from the stock with whatever other veg you would like to use. (I love mushrooms and peas) Cut two or three good sized potatos into half inch cubes and add to the pan. Add whatever herbs/spices you enjoy and about two cups of broth. Simmer for about 20 minutes. You can add more stock when needed. When the potatos are tender mix up a quarter cup of water with two or three tablespoons of flour. Beat it well as you don’t want lumps in your gravy. Turn up the heat under the chicken mixture and let it get good and bubbly. Slowly pour the flour water into the chicken mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens.Here is your filling.

I like to make individual size meat pies so roll out and cut your pastry to fit in muffin tins. Cut tops to fit as well. Spoon your filling into of the tin. Wash the edges of your pastry with milk and egg mixture and put your top on, pinching it to create a seal. Cut a couple small slits in the top of your pies and bake for about 40 minutes (untill your pastry is golden but not dark brown) in a 375 F oven. Let them cool completely and freeze individually on cookie sheets. Once frozen put them in a large freezer bag, date them.

So….now your broth should be cool enough to put in the fridge. I usually leave it over night. When the stock is cold all the fat will be collected and hardened on the top of the broth. Scrape it off and throw it away! This may sound a little crazy after removing that fat but believe me it’s not. Heat up your broth and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of real butter. Not margarine! This gives the broth an amazing flavor. Now it’s ready to use or freeze.

I hope you enjoy making your own!