You want to make your own homemade soup, but you just feel like you don’t have the time to make your own chicken stock. Is that what’s troubling you, Bunky?
Fuss no more. This “cheater” chicken broth is simple, quick and is great for the busiest households. Next time you buy (or defrost) uncooked chicken for a meal, snag an extra 4 to 6 bone-in breast pieces, or 2 to 3 whole breast portions with the bones. Skin chicken if you want a lower-fat, clearer broth. I always skin my chicken and trim the fat off the meat when I make this broth.
Bones are what give great flavor to broths and stocks. This recipe is a broth–a hot liquid made with just the chicken pieces and few other ingredients. Stocks include bones, but also add veggies, usually root vegetables, for added flavor.
Cheater Chicken Broth
(makes about 8 cups)
4 to 6 bone-in chicken breast pieces
8 cups water -OR- 4 cups water and 2 cups white wine
Spices to taste: salt, garlic powder, poultry seasoning
Pour liquid into large stockpot, and add chicken pieces. Season with 1-2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and one teaspoon poultry seasonings.
Simmer mixture at medium heat until chicken is done: 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts and how long your stove takes to warm the liquids. Stir occasionally.
Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken to plate and cool. Adjust seasonings in broth to your taste. Take broth off the heat to cool.
When the chicken pieces cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones, shred meat and return to broth.
At this point, you can serve the broth as is, add veggies to whip up a chicken soup, add dumplings, or pop the broth into the fridge for a day or two (no more, it won’t hold more than that), or freeze the broth for later use.
No matter what you do, you’ll have a tasty base for soup, stews, or dumplings.
• White wine will give you a big punch of flavor, and all the alcohol will steam off during the simmer. If you’ve not cooked with wine before, use 7 cups water and 1 of wine. You may want to increase the amount of wine you use as you get used to cooking with it.
• A squeeze of lemon juice will liven up a water-only broth. If you just use water, add the juice from 1/4 of a lemon as the simmering just starts. It’ll help tenderize the chicken too. If you think it needs more “oomph” add a bit more fresh lemon juice just before serving.
Best breads: With this simple broth, whole wheat saltines or regular saltines do well. My grandad used to float little bits of buttered bread in his chicken broth, and that’s pretty tasty too. Croutons can add texture if you have them handy.
Should you prefer your broth meat-free, use the poached chicken breast sliced in sandwiches, shredded and warmed with Old Carolina Barbeque Sauce, or mixed into this favorite dip.
Spicy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip
1-12 oz bottle Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
2-8 oz packages cream cheese, cut into cubes
1-16 oz bottle Ranch Dressing
1-28 oz can Lehman’s Canned Chicken (or about 3 cups cooked chicken)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Mix all the ingredients together. Cook in a crock pot or slow cooker for an hour or two, stirring occasionally.
You can also bake it at 350°F for 30 minutes if you don’t want to wait! Serve with tortilla chips, crackers and celery.