It seems inevitable that any time the season changes, I start to come down with some bug or other. You know the feeling: running normal errands suddenly feels like running a marathon, that tell-tale tickle starts in the back of your throat, your ears start to itch, and you just feel…off.
As soon as I felt it sneaking up this weekend–this gorgeous, perfect, early fall weekend–I made my list: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chicken. Roasted then simmered for most of the afternoon while I napped, it is the best cure for just about anything that ails you. And by freezing the broth, I’ll be sure to have some handy for the next time that little tickle starts in on my throat.
Roasted Chicken Broth
Makes about 6-8 cups, or more depending on how large your pot is/how much water you add. Generally I try to keep a gallon freezer bag reserved for vegetable odds and ends that can be used for broth, but if I don’t have enough saved up or need soup quickly, this is what I make. It may sound like a lot of steps when you aren’t feeling well, but there is not much hands-on effort needed, especially if you make this as soon as you start to feel yucky.
4-5 pound chicken
2 medium onions
3 celery stalks
3 large carrots
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears corn, steamed, kernels cut off and reserved (optional)
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the onions, celery, and carrots in large chunks and place in the bottom of a roasting pan with the garlic; place the chicken over the bed of vegetables. Drizzle the whole pan with oil and sprinkle with salt; roast for about an hour (the chicken may not be completely cooked through–that’s ok).
Carefully peel the skin from the chicken and discard. Add the chicken and vegetables to a crockpot or a large stock pot and cover with water. Add enough water to the roasting pan to scrape up any browned bits and add them to the crockpot as well, along with the peppercorns, corn cobs (if using), and parsley. Set the crockpot to high and simmer for about 3 hours, occasionally turning the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and carefully pull the meat from the bones, chop and reserve for later. Return the bones to the pot, top up with water, turn the heat to low, and continue cooking for another hour or two. Pull out the bones and large chunks of vegetables, strain the broth through a sieve or cheesecloth, cool, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, the broth should be nicely jelled; skim off the solidified fat, and portion for freezing (I do about 2-cup portions). To make chicken soup, bring the broth to a simmer, then add sliced carrots and celery, reserved corn, peas, and some of the diced chicken until hot. Serve over egg noodles and top with a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped parsley. If you are feeling particularly crummy, eat it out of a mug while you’re curled under your coziest blanket.