Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

Alex Mackay shares a recipe for chicken bone broth from his new book The Magic Fridge

Chicken bone broth from Alex Mackay's The Magic Fridge. Picture / Supplied

Makes: 3L. Storage: Fridge 5 days, freezer 3 months. Prep/cooking time: 2¾ hours. Active time: 15-20 minutes.

Chicken ‘bone’ broth is the trendy new name for chicken broth but whatever you want to call it, it is soul food and there are few things more comforting, restorative and versatile. I prefer onion, garlic, bay, thyme and peppercorns to be the aromatics in a simple broth, so that it stays neutral enough to be the base for a wide range of flavours. I’ll only add carrots and celery if I want to taste one or the other, and you can make a good broth with just the bones, onions and water. It’s a good idea to skim the surface, once it has boiled, before you add the bits and bobs: this way you don’t end up scooping out a lot of what you put in. After that, you’re only a gentle simmer away from a rich, clear, and oh so delicious broth.

If you have any chicken bones left from a roast chicken, use them to make broth in the same way. For a vegetarian and/or quicker version of the recipes, replace the chicken broth with a light miso or good-quality instant stock. If you don’t have a big enough pot, just make this in two.

3kg raw chicken bones (or chicken wings)
3 medium onions (150-175g each), halved
8 garlic cloves, halved
4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns

1. Get a very large pot. Add the chicken bones. Cover the bones with just enough water to submerge them completely.

2. Bring to the boil. Skim off as much of the scum as you can. (A ladle is best for this.) Turn the heat to low.

3. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns.

4. Simmer, uncovered, over a gentle heat for 2½ hours. (Chicken broth can be simmered in your oven at 100C, which means you get less of the broth smell throughout your house.) Don’t worry about skimming constantly, as long as you have taken off the scum in the first place. The fat on top enriches the chicken broth, but if you want to throw it away, do so when it’s cold and has risen to the surface.

5. Strain the broth through a sieve into large heatproof containers. Throw away the bones, vegetables and aromatics. The broth can now be seasoned and eaten as is, left to cool and put in the fridge until needed, or frozen.

How to store
I upcycle plastic yoghurt containers to freeze my broth in.If you don’t have much space, you can boil and reduce the chicken broth then freeze it in ice-cube trays. You need to do the maths first and label your cubes accordingly – if you reduce 1 litre of broth by 80 per cent to 200ml, then you will need to add 800ml water to return the broth to its original state.

• Extracted with permission from The Magic Fridge by Alex Mackay, published by Bloomsbury ($40).

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