I’ve fallen victim to a rather lazy trap and I guess it’s time to confess – I love having cans of chicken broth in my pantry. Lots and lots of cans of chicken broth.
I discovered this addiction while I was cleaning out my pantry recently. There they were – six big cans of chicken broth. Adding up the money is what got me thinking about this wasteful habit.
Of course, approximately 9 out of 10 recipes call for chicken broth, so why not stock up? The answer is simple. The cost is crazy.
Typically, I would now be offering up my recipe for making your own chicken broth. But wait. Before you go out and buy a bunch of whole chickens to make your own chicken broth, I had another epiphany. Why chicken broth?
The last time I made a chicken casserole that called for chicken broth to be added, it should have struck me then. You already have the chicken in the casserole, why do you need more chicken in the added broth. What would you miss if you used vegetable broth?
Of course, I checked the price of vegetable broth in the grocery store before I took my next step and found that even the vegetable broth was outrageously expensive. The next logical step, of course, was to make my own vegetable broth and use that as the basis for my casseroles, soups, and stews.
That’s what I will share with you today. Here is the process I used to make my very own tasty, frugal, and nutritious vegetable broth.
I scrubbed and washed some carrots.
I didn’t bother to peel them; just took my vegetable scrubber and got them clean.
A coarse chop was next.
I washed and cut up celery, including the tops.
A coarse chop with the celery is just fine as well because everything gets strained out anyway. Nothing in a vegetable broth has to be bite sized because once the vegetables are boiled and simmered for hours, there’s no flavor left in them.
I had some radishes on hand so I scrubbed those, cut them in half, and threw them in.
Why? I like the peppery flavor and I had them on hand. They probably will add a little color to the vegetable broth as well.
I scrubbed up some yellow onions, cut them in half, and threw them in the pot. I am of the Jamie Oliver school of cooking when it comes to this sort of rough cooking. Wash the onions and put them in skin and all. Not only does it add nutritional value but the yellow skins add rich color to the broth. Scrub the roots well, but if you’re squeamish about the roots, just cut them off.
Then a handful of salt and about 10 whole peppercorns, garlic if you like, and cover with fresh, cold water, and voila!
You have the beginning of a beautiful broth!
Let me share my final secret ingredient here for a successful vegetable broth that looks like chicken broth and tastes rich and wonderful. Olive oil.
Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook as long as possible to get the most flavor. Adjust your seasonings.
The next time I make my vegetable broth I would cut the amount of carrots in half. Too many carrots make for a sweet broth and I prefer my broth a bit less sweet. I also would stick with yellow onions and not try the sweet onions for the same reason – just not enough onion flavor, which I prefer.
I ladled out a bit of the broth before I poured it into my freezer containers so you could see the results. It did turn out pretty colorful and rich.
For the cost of a couple carrots, a bunch of celery, a half dozen or so yellow onions, some water and spices, I have a nice supply of flavorful broth stored in my freezer. What other broth do I really need?
This is one frugal tip worth trying today!