Posted on November 20, 2014 at 6:00 am
As with anything challenging, sometimes we just need a win to keep us going. It’s true with work, sports, parenting, and even hobbies. Sometimes those wins are hard earned, but the ones that come easy can be the most satisfying and invigorating.
Do you remember that commercial with the mom in the kitchen kicking back, reading a book only to mess her hair, dust some flour on her face, and exit the kitchen feigning exhaustion and carrying a plate of Rice Krispy treats to her eager family?
For me, being a (culinary) boss is like that. It’s finding things that don’t require very much money or skill to make, but result in me feeling and looking like a whiz in the kitchen. If you’re doing it right, at the end there should be shock and awe at what you’ve accomplished and you will feel like a boss.
Preparing 2-3 meals per day each week for my family is challenging for me. We all know how good it can feel to have people really enjoy something you do, but without that positive feedback, things can begin to feel more like a chore than I would like.
So in order to keep myself motivated, I have begun to celebrate the things that make me feel like a culinary boss. This can be a thing that makes me feel thrifty, or inventive, or skilled. These are the things that boost my confidence in the kitchen and keep me going week after week. One of these things is making my own broths. When my husband comes downstairs and proclaims, “That smells awesome!” I feel like a rock star.
I have cooked my broth on the stove, in the oven, and in my crockpot. However what really makes me feel good is that making it costs no money and requires almost no effort on my part, and the results will knock your socks off. Which must be what happens to my husband because I continue to find his socks inexplicably strewn about our house.
Here is my not-so-secret, secret… kitchen scraps.
As I prepare food in my kitchen I end up with random scraps of vegetables that don’t get used. I throw these scraps into a plastic bag that I keep in my freezer. This might include carrot ends, inches of leak, leafy celery tops, and wedges of cabbage. You can throw most anything you enjoy into the bag, but I can speak from experience that including purple cabbage results in a very unappetizing color of broth. So that’s your call, but you’ve been warned.
Additionally, in another bag I collect the bones from our meals. In our house it is usually chicken legs, but sometimes I have a whole carcass. Any bone is fair game and I am not afraid to mix bones from different animals to make my broth.
Once I have a gallon bag of both, I take out my biggest stockpot, throw it all in with filtered water, some apple cider vinegar, some Herbes de Provence, and let it rip. I cook for at least 6 hours, but sometimes up to 48 hours (for beef broth).
Once cooked, I cool, then strain, and ladle into pint sized canning jars that I freeze. I typically get 12-14 pints out of my large stockpot and it lasts me a couple months. I use my broth as a base for flavorful soups, mash into potatoes, and deglaze pans for savory sauces. Like. A. Boss.
Here are some resources I’ve used to pull together my broth making repertoire:
What makes you feel like a boss in the kitchen?