When Betsy and I first started TC Farm, one of the products we made was 'homemade' chicken stock. We, along with our two live-in 'interns' slaved away in a restaurant kitchen using every single stockpot we and the restaurant owned to make up as much broth as we could.
In the end, we wound up with one quart per member of very labor intensive stock and we were exhausted.
I thought: "people can make their own stock if they want REALLY good soups and drinking broths."
But that requires planning ahead and time, something I know I am in short supply of.
So NOW I am super excited to have 'homemade' broth to be made for us!
Bone stock is super healthy. Here is an article I wrote about it a while back.
There has been no way to buy pasture raised organic 'homemade' stock. I never understood why until we set out this year to have our bones made into stock by a local soup company.
They told me that the 'boxes of broth' you buy in the store are super watered down on purpose, not just to make it appear cheap, but as a way to avoid USDA inspection.
Yeah, apparently the 'broth' in those boxes is SO diluted that the government no longer considers it a 'meat product' so it is basically viewed as a beverage (like a soda) and thus the company doesn't have to pay for or abide by USDA inspection regulations.
So basically if it doesn't have this stamp on it, then you KNOW it is just flavored water NOT a true bone broth or stock.
Even with a stamp, it still could be super watered down. We experimented with a few different recipes this year to see which level of concentration was best. I'd estimate ours are between 3x and 8x as concentrated as most 'broth' in the store. Let us know what you think and include the lot number in your feedback so we know which recipe to focus on next year.
Oh -- that company also said that they've never seen better chicken bones to work with and our simple stock they helped create is one of the best they've tried.
I'll share my favorite use...but I am sure you'll probably think I am as crazy as I thought when someone first suggested this to me:
Just drink it in the morning.
yeah - like ... instead of coffee... or maybe before your coffee if that is too extreme. Remember, this ISN'T that boxed broth, it makes your body feel nourished and happy to be alive -- really a great way to start the day.
One of the 2 quart packages could be used to make a good amount of soup or quite a lot if you wanted to dilute it down a bit. Check out our soup recipes and please send us your recipes to post too.
I'd really like to get tons of member's soup recipes with photos online for everyone to try different ideas.
Rice or couscous are SO much better if you use some stock. And, since ours is so concentrated, you can use less... honestly, at 100% strength in a white rice, it might be a bit overpowering.
Don't forget about our mushroom squash risotto-- SO GOOD.
I just realized that we don't have a polenta recipe on our website, that's crazy... I'll try to fix that.
Anyhow, polenta is SUPER good if you use some chicken stock to make it. Butter fried polenta cakes with our stock is irresistible.
Most sauces are better with chicken stock. If you are cooking a turkey this year, be sure to get some of ours to supplement the drippings to make gravy. Here is our gravy recipe.
Basically, to make a sauce, first, make a rue (see gravy recipe) and then you whisk that into a chicken stock base with any other flavors you want. A favorite is chicken piccata (SO good and easy)
Curry dishes are great using stock and even try adding some to things like marinara sauce!
Real bone stock with gelatin is a key component for making an ideal meatloaf. Betsy and I are working on a TC Farm meatloaf now, and our whole family might be crazy sick of meatloaf... but all for a good cause.
If possible, keep your stock in the original box for storage. If the packages get thrown around in your freezer and tear, you have less options for thawing.
Our broth is in ~2 quart packages (7-8 cups).
These can be thawed in a fridge or on a counter. Just put them in a 4 or 8 quart pot if you think there is a risk the bag has torn at all. They are pretty thick and I've yet to have one tear, but... putting it in a container is easy insurance to avoid broth all over.
Honestly, I think thawing ahead of time is overrated (for most of our products even). THAT requires planning ahead.
If I don't use the full two quarts right away, I'll just put the extras into a 1 or a 1.5 pint ball jar and keep in the fridge or re-freeze for later use.