I once put up a picture of my pot of chicken broth coming to life on my personal Instagram account. One of my friends asked jokingly what I was doing. You see, in the Nigerian kitchen, chicken broth is not something we intentionally make. Broth is often the result of braising meat for consumption. So, I feel almost silly writing this recipe on how to make chicken broth.
In Yoruba Language, Omi Eran is what we call stock or broth. It literally translates to the juice of the meat.
My knowledge of Nigerian food is based on my heritage as a Yoruba woman. This caveat is important because Nigeria, as a country, is an amalgamation of many rich cultures that have many different traditions. These traditions converge and often times, they diverge. Even when the Yoruba heritage, many different tribes have their perspective on food. My knowledge of food is based on my heritage as a Yoruba woman who grew up in Lagos. My food is rooted in my mother’s Abeokuta lineage and watching the Cooking Channel obsessively.
The intersection between what is mine to claim within my culture and that I have gleaned from a foreign culture is what makes my food interesting. It is what makes my chicken broth interesting. I have often seen food bloggers talk about how to make chicken broth. Many recipes focus on wringing out the essence of the chicken bones.
I view chicken broth as more than just the essence of chicken. For me, making chicken broth is about creating a flavor base that saves times. In writing this recipe on how to make chicken broth, I am really telling you one of the ways I bring flavor into my kitchen. A cup of my homemade chicken broth already is well balanced with different herbs and spices so that when I use it, I can worry less about building a flavor profile.
Here is the truth about my daily cooking, it is very unfussy. I am often short on time but long on hunger when I get into this kitchen. This means I want something quick that is not bland. Having homemade chicken broth stored in my freezer allows me to cut down on time when I am making things like soups. My chicken broth also makes cooking whole grains like brown rice and quinoa much more pleasurable.
One thing I will say about how I make chicken broth is that I want to have as a versatile brew. This means I stay away from strong herbs and lots of spices. So, although I am a big fan of cumin and rosemary, I prefer to avoid them because it is hard to build other flavors on them. I tend to reach for the more thyme, celery, leek and onions in my broth. This combination produces a broth that is beautiful in color, tasty in the mouth and easy to use when cooking.
The goal this week is to show you ways that I use this chicken broth so that you are inspired enough to make it.
- 3 Pounds Chicken Bones
- 1 Onion (large)
- 1 Leek (large)
- 2 Garlic bulbs
- 2 Carrots
- 2 inches Ginger
- 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme or 1 tbsp of dried thyme
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- 1 Lemon
- This step is optional. I like to brown off the chicken bones before I use them. The browning of the bones allows the fat on the bones to rendered off in a pan. I collect this fat for roasting vegetables and other recipes
- The vegetables in this broth don’t have to be finely cut. The onion, garlic and ginger and lemon can be halved. I cut the carrots and leeks into chunks. Also, note that I often only use the green bits of the leek for making broth.
- Arrange the vegetables, herbs and chicken bones in a large stockpot. I usually cook mine in 4.5-quart pot pan. Arrange the vegetables and chicken bones in the pot, and fill up with water. Then bring up to a boil.
- Once the water in the pot is boiling, I turn down the heat to a simmer, and then I start the clock. I’ll usually let the broth simmer for about an hour after it comes to a boil. Let it cool down completely before attempting to strain out the liquid.
- If you have a bit of fat floating on top, this can be captured by putting the broth in the freeze let fat solidify. Then the solid fat can be picked off the broth. I usually don’t have this issue since I render the fat off before making the broth