Easy Chicken Broth

Now that winter is in full swing there is only one thing I crave after the dark and wet commute home from work, and it is a warm bowl of soup. Call me crazy but a big bowl of soup, a bath, a book, a cup of hot chocolate for dessert, and the fireplace is my perfect winter evening in. I am not really a fan of canned soup with soggy veggies and limp noodles, so I always go the homemade route. Yes, it is considerably more effort, but the fresh taste is worth it.

I'm constantly in need of a good broth to start my soups with that is comforting and flavorful but doesn't take all evening to prepare. Stock cubes and canned stocks are always too salty for me and still manage to taste somewhat artificial. I love homemade stock but often can't be bothered to go to all the effort for just one soup. That was until the aha moment. My own mini kitchen revelation. The freezer. I had forgotten you can use it for more than just ice cream. It works for homemade broths and food too! Laugh if you will, but until last week all my lonely freezer held was my two best friends Ben & Jerry.  Now my broth problem is solved and I have lots of individual portions tucked away in the freezer for quick night time soups. These bad boys will keep for 3 months. I love pouring it over Japanese style ramen noodles with bak choy and a poached egg or using it to make my own chicken noodle soup. I've drank it down plain when I had a cold earlier this week and it was just what I needed. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part, you get an entire poached chicken out of the recipe! Take that Swanson.

Chicken Broth adapted via Jamie Oliver

•  3.5 pound free-range organic chicken
• 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
• 1 leek, roughly chopped
• 1 rasher of smoked bacon
• 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Place your chicken, carrot, celery, leeks, and bacon in a large saucepan, cover with lots of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter, skimming the white residue off the top every now and again. Add rosemary and cook for 15 more minutes. Strain and use the broth and chicken as desired.

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