How to Make Chicken Broth Without Vegetables

This delicious chicken broth was made with only a chicken carcass, water, herbs and seasoning
This delicious chicken broth was made with only a chicken carcass, water, herbs and seasoning

Chicken broth or chicken stock is usually made with either a whole chicken or a chicken carcass and a variety of vegetables. Carrots, celery and onions are the most popular vegetables employed but a number of others can also be used. What happens, however, when we wish to make chicken broth but don't have ready access to any appropriate vegetables? Is there a way in which we can still make a perfectly seasoned and usable broth or do we have to significantly alter our plans? That is a question I recently had to ask myself.

The simple truth of this situation is that it was only when I had my chicken prepared and the carcass ready with which to start making the broth that a very pertinent thought occurred to me: I had forgotten to buy the vegetables I needed at the supermarket! The way I saw it, I had three obvious choices. I could abandon or delay my broth making plans, I could make a second visit of the day to the supermarket, or I could improvise. Given that I wanted the broth prepared, refrigerated and ready for use the following day - in addition to the fact that it was snowing heavily and extremely cold outside - I opted for the third and what I saw to be the logical option.

The leg portions, wings and breast fillets were removed from this chicken to serve a variety of purposes and the remainder of the carcass used to make the broth
The leg portions, wings and breast fillets were removed from this chicken to serve a variety of purposes and the remainder of the carcass used to make the broth

There are certain situations in cooking where we are bound by a very definite set of rules. For example, we know that chicken and similar poultry must always be properly cooked and this is non-negotiable if we are to eliminate the risk of serious illness or even death. In a similar sense, science dictates that when we are making pastries or cakes, the ingredient proportions have to be precise if disaster in the oven is to be avoided. Fortunately, in most instances, experimentation is not only possible, it is to be encouraged. After all, almost every food recipe on this planet came about either through experimentation on the part of its creator or by complete accident when something else was being attempted. With this reality very much in mind, I began my kitchen scavenge for potential chicken broth ingredients.

Vegetable Free Chicken Broth - Stage One

Improvised ingredients for vegetable free chicken broth are added to a large stock pot
Improvised ingredients for vegetable free chicken broth are added to a large stock pot
Remaining meat on chicken carcass is cooked
Remaining meat on chicken carcass is cooked
Chicken carcass cool enough to handle
Chicken carcass cool enough to handle
Chicken meat picked from the carcass
Chicken meat picked from the carcass

A few minutes later, I had tentatively decided on my broth ingredients from what herbs and seasonings I had available and was ready to proceed.

Ingredients

Carcass of a three pound chicken (legs, thighs, wings and breast fillets removed)
Small bunch of fresh chives
3 small garlic cloves
Tsp dried thyme
Tsp dried rosemary
Tsp whole black peppercorns
Sea salt
Enough cold water to cover chicken

Method

Lay the chicken carcass in a stock pot comfortably big enough to contain it and the water. Add all the remaining ingredients, the water last of all. Put on a high heat until the water begins to boil and reduce to achieve a steady simmer.

If you want to salvage any remaining chicken meat on the carcass for later use, you should do this after about half an hour, before it becomes overcooked. Lift the chicken out of the pot with a large slotted spoon and cover on a plate until it is cool enough to handle. The heat under the pot should be turned off. Pick off the meat when cool enough to handle and return the bones to the pot for a further hour's simmering.

Turn the heat off under the pot, put the lid on and leave for at least a couple of hours to cool.

Vegetable Free Chicken Broth - Stage Two

The cooled chicken broth infusion does not look particularly appealing in its initial form
The cooled chicken broth infusion does not look particularly appealing in its initial form
Solids have been scooped from chicken broth
Solids have been scooped from chicken broth
Straining the chicken broth
Straining the chicken broth

When you remove the lid from the pot, the cooled infusion will in all honesty look pretty disgusting. That, however, will quickly and easily be remedied.

Use a large slotted spoon to remove and discard the chicken carcass and as many other solids from the pot as you can. Don't be too fastidious at this stage as the subsequent straining will remove any small solids that remain.

When it comes to straining the broth, it is best to do so not only through a sieve but through some form of cloth. Muslin or cheesecloth is perfect but if you don't have either, kitchen paper works perfectly well. Suspend a sieve over a large bowl as shown and line it with three or four sheets of kitchen paper. Simply pour the broth in to strain in stages.

This simple chicken broth, made without vegetables, is now ready to be used for your desired purpose.

What Can I Make with Vegetable Free Chicken Broth?

This chicken broth is suitable for any purpose where you would normally incorporate chicken broth. It can be used in stews, casseroles, risottos and any number of other dishes. Below is just one suggestion for using this chicken broth in the form of an incredibly quick and easy soup - in which the elusive vegetables are finally included, following a subsequent supermarket visit.

Note that any chicken which was removed from the carcass earlier could very effectively be included in this soup. In this instance, however, it had already been used for another purpose.

Quick and easy chicken and vegetable soup with dunkers
Quick and easy chicken and vegetable soup with dunkers
Strained chicken broth
Strained chicken broth
Vegetables for soup
Vegetables for soup
Prepared vegetables are added to the chicken broth
Prepared vegetables are added to the chicken broth
Parsley should firstly be washed through a colander
Parsley should firstly be washed through a colander

Ingredients

Strained chicken broth (two to three pints)
1 small leek
3 medium carrots
3 medium potatoes
Generous handful of fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Return the sieved chicken broth to the washed stock or soup pot.

Wash the leek and trim off the leaves and root end. Slice across the way in to quarter inch discs. Top and tail the carrots and scrape. Chop two of them in a similar fashion to the leek and roughly grate the third. Peel and dice the potatoes to about three-quarters of an inch.

Add all the vegetables to the chicken broth and put the pot on a high heat until the liquid just reaches a boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a gentle simmer for thirty minutes.

Put the parsley in a colander and wash under running water. Chop it roughly and add it to the soup for a further ten minutes' simmering time.

The soup is now ready to serve and is accompanied above by two thick slices of French style bread. Alternatively, it can be cooled and refrigerated for a couple of days or even frozen for up to three months.

Although it may be unlikely that we would deliberately set out to prepare chicken broth in this fashion, it is good to know that options are available where - for whatever reason - we don't have all the usual ingredients. This chicken broth made a delicious soup, to an extent that few who did not know of the unconventional nature of the broth would ever even suspect.

Have you made Chicken Broth or Stock without Vegetables?

Thank you for taking the time to read through this page. I hope at the very least it is something which may prove useful to you at some point in the future.

Any feedback or comments which you have may be left in the appropriate space below.

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10 comments

J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 4 years ago

Great hub. Well written and useful. I have many times found myself with carcass, sans veggies, and because I have had in my mind the thought that "no veggies, no stock" I have thrown the carcass away. No more. Thanks.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, J Burgraff. I'm glad that this information will be useful to you. It is undoubtedly a common problem, whether we have forgotten to buy the vegetables or simply just not counted on needing them. I hope that you come up with a good combination of ingredients for making your own alternative broth in this way.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Your chicken broth sounds like it would have been well flavored with the ingredients you used. Great substitutions! We always have chives, even garlic chives growing in our garden and always have herbs on hand either fresh or dried...so making this could easily be accomplished. Thanks!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great resource! Thanks!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, Peggy and randomcreative. It certainly sounds as though you have plenty options, Peggy. I am certainly going to experiment further with this wholly accidental discovery and see what else I can come up with. I hope if you get the chance to do likewise, your broth is delicious.


Silver Fish profile image

Silverfish 4 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

Lovely hub, I am very impressed with the clarity of the stock. Is that to do with ingredients or cooking temperature?

Anytime I have tried this I end up with a very cloudy liquor.

Voted up- and Merry Christmas.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Silver Fish. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

It is straining the broth through the cloth (or kitchen paper) that above all helps to make it so clear, by removing even the finest of impurities. It only takes a couple of minutes and is well worth the little bit extra effort.


Marja 19 months ago

Thank you so much for this, it is exactly what i needed ☺


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 19 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

I hope you put the broth to great use, Marja. Thanks for visiting and for letting me know you found the information useful.


Molly Layton profile image

Molly Layton 16 months ago from Alberta

This looks tasty!

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