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Month: February 2013

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock


Broth or stock is the base for most soups, many sauces, and used in place of water to improve grains such as rice. Many recipes give you the option of using store-bought broth or stock, but nothing compares to homemade. Making your own is very easy, a great way to get the most out of meat you buy that contains bones, and gives you control over the flavor, any possible unwanted ingredients, and the sodium level (if you care about that sort of thing).


This is the basic method, without any salt or seasonings.


Put the bones in a pot, raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter.
Add an acid – vinegar or lemon juice (a couple of table spoons to half a cup).
Cover the bones with cold water (you can go an inch or two above the bones depending on how they sit in the pot).
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, so the acid can do its work pulling minerals out of the bone.
Turn on the heat and simmer for several hours – beef bones take about twice as long as chicken. If you are doing this on the stove or in a slow cooker, chicken bones should simmer for at least four to six hours, and beef bones need six to 12. Or, you can use a pressure cooker and cut your time down significantly (see below).
Cool, strain, and put your broth fridge overnight. Save the bones if this is your first time (see below).
Lift the congealed fat layer off the top. Your broth should have the consistency of Jell-O.


Why You Should Save the Bones if This is Your First Attempt


If your broth or stock did not gel, you probably need to toss the bones back in and simmer some more. This can also happen if you use too much water for the amount of bones.


Using a Pressure Cooker


This is much faster in a pressure cooker. Once it has come up to pressure and you’ve reduced the temperature, chicken broth takes about 45 minutes and beef takes about 90 minutes. DO read the instructions for your pressure cooker thoroughly if you are not familiar with it.


Which Bones?
I use whatever bones I have from cooking chicken. For beef, I’ve used rib bones after making ribs, and I’ve bought beef bones at the store. If I buy them, I choose a mix of femur bones and bones with lots of cartilage. Check out some of the Benefits of Bone Broth.


Seasoning and Flavoring


I often add a good handful of coarse salt. Sometimes I don’t add any flavorings. If the bones are from cooked meat your both will likely take on some of the flavor of the dish. You can use raw bones. Roasting beef bones before making your broth gives it a deeper, richer flavor. Adding roasted onion and garlic does, too.

Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts

Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts

Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts

This is so easy, but it always comes out juicy and wonderful. I make it frequently. I save up the bones in the freezer until I have enough to make Homemade Chicken Stock.

I am planning to adapt this to a whole roasted chicken recipe soon, using some of the basics from my previous post Easy, Delicious Roast Chicken and Gravy.


Homemade Red Sauce

Homemade Red Sauce

I normally buy red sauce because it’s so quick and easy to make a yummy, filling meal of spaghetti and meat sauce with a good jarred sauce. But, I have started making homemade mozzarella and ricotta, and I am planning to use them in lasagna, so it just seemed like homemade red sauce was called for. If I’m feeling really energetic I’ll even make my own lasagna noodles.

This is the recipe for the basic red sauce, which goes well on perogies, tortellini, or as a dipping sauce for fried zucchini or bread sticks. It would work for pizza sauce, too. Of course, you can easily turn this into a meat sauce (instructions below).


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer extra light tasting)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bulb roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces)

1 regular can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
4 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
¼ cup Shiraz (red wine)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste


In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Add roasted garlic.

Place the whole canned tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze to break into small pieces. Be careful when squeezing or you’ll quirt juice all over your kitchen.


Add the broken-up tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, Shiraz, bay leaf, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar to the pot and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.


Turning this into Meat Sauce:


If meat sauce is what you are really after, just brown about 1½ pounds of ground beef with your favorite seasonings (I use salt, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and a touch of oregano) and drain off the excess grease. Return the beef to the pan and season some more if needed. When the meat is good and flavorful, toss it into your red sauce, stir, and simmer for a few minutes. If you are not going to us it right away, you can skip that last simmer until you are warming the sauce to serve.


This goes great in lasagna, or on top of spaghetti.