Recipe of the Week
Basic chicken broth
1 5-6 lb. stewing hen or roasting chicken
6 qts. cold water
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 celery rib with leaves attached
1 whole carrot
2 bay leaves
8 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 piece peeled fresh ginger about 1 inch long, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
Place chicken and water in a 10 or 12-qt. stockpot. Place pot on stove over low flame and let water come to a gentle boil. A froth will appear on top. This will take from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Carefully skim off froth as it rises to surface. Do not, for any reason, stir pot after froth first begins to appear.
The froth will continue to form on top of broth for about 1 hour. When it stops foaming, let broth simmer for about 30 minutes, then add onions, celery, and carrot.
Let pot return to simmer while carefully skimming off any more sediment that rises to surface. Add bay leaves, peppercorns, whole cloves, ginger, and salt.
Reduce heat to a point where broth is barely simmering. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1½ hours. If you are using a roasting chicken or capon, remove it at this point and let the stock simmer for another hour. If you are using an old stewing hen (fowl), leave it in the pot until the end.
Turn off heat, remove stewing hen, if necessary, and let broth settle and cool.
Strain broth into another pot through several layers of cheese- cloth and place pot in refrigerator. This is the fastest and safest way to cool a perishable hot food like chicken broth. You can safely let the stock cool, unrefrigerated, for up to 90 minutes before placing it in the refrigerator. If you live in a northern climate, during the winter you can take a pot of hot stock on a cake rack and place it on your back porch for super-fast cooling.