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How to make your own broth

Chicken broth

Not one to let anything go to waste, Jennifer Irvine helps you make your own broth using only a few ingredients, including chicken bones, vegetables and seasoning.

By definition, broth is a savoury liquid made from water, in which bones, meat or vegetables are simmered. It can be eaten alone or provide the basis for a soup, sauce or gravy. It also freezes well.

I like to experiment by adding in different vegetables and I tend to use those that are in season. Including leeks, potatoes and cabbage really brings the broth together and adds in so much goodness. I precook the vegetables and chop them into small pieces so the broth is still drinkable – I like to serve it in large mugs so it feels like a comforting drink. My children love a cup of broth and it’s an easy way to get a wide range of vegetables into their diet. Here’s how I make it…

The base stock

This is the most important part of any soup or broth. It involves a few hours of slow-cooking but very little prep. I use leftover chicken bones and 1 litre of water. You can use chicken bones that are raw, but I find the ones that are left over from a roast give the best flavour.

Easy steps

  1. Put the chicken bones in a large pan and pour over enough cold water to cover them. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for a couple of hours.
  2. Add the vegetables to the pan (you can even include some peelings) with some garlic. I prefer to keep my broth fairly basic as I can then add flavourings later (see right). Allow to cool, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, bring the stock back to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Remove and throw away the bones. Continue to heat the stock to reduce the liquid to your preferred quantity and intensity.

How to enjoy it:

  • Simply heat and serve in a mug.
  • Turn it into something more filling by adding cut leftover cooked chicken and any cooked vegetables you like, then warming through.
  • Add an Asian twist by adding finely grated fresh ginger, thinly sliced garlic, soy sauce and serve with noodles.
  • Make it Italian by adding tomatoes, herbs and drained white beans.
  • Add a Middle Eastern twist with warming spices and chickpeas.
First published: May 2022

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