Hope you’re joining us for the Freezer Cooking Challenge! You’ll find this week’s plans here.
Today is the biggest day of our challenge when it comes to time and effort. We’ll be making Chicken Broth, plus shredded cooked chicken for salads and stir fries. We’re doing it first, just to get it out of the way. The rest of the week will be so easy you won’t know what to do with yourself.
The best thing about today is that while it does take several hours to make broth, it doesn’t actually take hours of work on your part. Once you get your chicken and veggies cooking, you can just walk away and let it do its thing. By the end of today, you will have several jars of rich, nourishing broth. Plus you’ll have cup after cup of cooked chicken. Having cooked chicken means you have all kinds of quick meal options. Simply toss your cooked chicken into soup, casserole, salad, or stir fry.
Okay, here we go!
Begin making your Chicken Broth by putting your whole chickens, carrots, onions, and other veggies into a large stock pot. Fill 3/4 full of water.
Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, leaving lid on. Allow the chicken/veggies/water to cook for 3-4 hours. See a thorough Chicken Broth Tutorial here.
Remove chickens from pot, placing them on a platter to cool for a few minutes before you take the meat off the bones. In the meantime, strain out the veggies and broth. Throw the mushy veggies into a blender, give them a whiz until they are smooth, then stir them into your broth for extra nourishment! Pour broth into other bowls or pans so that it can cool.
Time to debone those chickens.
Confession time: I thoroughly dislike de-boning chickens. I don’t know why, I just don’t like it. So what does a good mother do? She calls in her children and makes them do the job she doesn’t enjoy. The good news: My four boys got right with it and had the meat off those bones in no time as if it wasn’t a job to be despised. Justus (age 14) and Malachi (age 9) left the kitchen afterward while saying the words, “Well, that was fun.”
I’m pretty sure they liked it because he could nibble chicken while they worked. Okay by me. I didn’t have to debone the chickens.
Important: Once the chicken is off the bones, I always throw the bones back into the pot, fill it up 1/2 full of water, and cook it for another few hours to make even more broth. Gotta use those great chicken bones for all they’re worth! While round two of broth was cooking, I got to work with that cooked chicken.
I packaged up three Ziploc freezer bags with cooked chicken to pull out for soups and casseroles. Then I made a big batch of Chicken Salad. I put it into the fridge and had two meals worth ready for quick lunches. Love this! I put the remaining chicken in a glass pyrex storage dish in the fridge to have chicken chef salads this week. The bagged chicken went into the freezer.
When it was all said and done, I ended up with 5-half gallon jars of chicken broth. Some is in my freezer, some is in the fridge for soups this week.
You can tell the difference between batch one and batch two. Batch one was cooked with veggies. Batch two was cooked with bones only. I certainly could have thrown in more veggies for round two, but I was plumb out of carrots and onions at that point. I’ll be sure to use the veggie-less broth to make soup in which I add veggies in.
Take note also that if you are going to freeze broth in jars, be sure to leave 2-3 inches of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion. Do not put them into the freezer until they have completely cooled.
After today, give yourself a huge pat on the back for a job well done! This day is a little more labor intensive than others will be, but think of all the wonderful meal possibilities you’re creating with just 2 chickens!
Coming up next in the freezer cooking challenge, we’ll be making Black Bean Chicken Nachos….
Following and hoping to do this in a couple weeks! I like to break the chicken bones in half so that more of the nutrients in the marrow can be drawn out! Yummy!
Korri Miller says
Very gratifying to have all that chicken and broth to use! Do you skim off the fat from your broth? Maybe your chickens were leaner than mine but mine seemed to have a 1/4 of fat on top. Thanks.
Nope, I leave in that good fat. It makes it super rich and delicious, not to mention very nutritious!
BUSY MOM IN AL says
I don’t like to pull the meat off the bones either! I usually cook it the day before I need it and then put it in the fridge overnight. The meat is cold the next day and it is easier to tell what is meat and what is not!
When I can, I get one of my children to help me also. One day after helping me, he said, “Mom, that was easy! You just pull out the bones!” Duh, that even sounds easier! Ha ha!
Couldn’t you have mixed the 2 batches of soups together before jarring or do you advise to keep them separate?
Great idea – you can definitely mix them!
good to know. thank you.
How do you defrost the chicken broth when it is frozen in jars?
Thanks for your website and all of the great info. you share!
Typically I pull it out of the freezer and put it in my fridge to thaw. Once it’s partially thawed, I might put the jar down into a pot of warm water to hurry up the process. :)
You can also do this in the crock pot; if you have time. I believe you let the bones and veggies sit for 12-24 hours. I find it easier to do in the crock pot because I can leave the house if I need to and not have to worry about making sure I turn the stove off. Thanks for reminding me I have a whole chicken in the freezer I need to do something with. Perfect!
How many days is the broth good for in the fridge? When I pulled it out four days later, there was a light grey tinge to the top of the fat layer in the jar.
[email protected] says
I would say it is ok for about a week. The grey tinge could be many things…I would just give it a smell test. If it ever smells off dump it, but otherwise you are fine to use it. :)
Do you peel your veggies first since you are blending them into the stock?
Nope. I just wash them and throw them in. :)