Ginger-scented chicken broth

By • March 2, 2010 23 Comments

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Author Notes: When I was a kid, coming home from school to the aromas of cinnamon, star anise and ginger meant that we would have pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) for dinner. This was always a good thing. I’d come home to watch my grandfather char onions halves and ginger over the open flame of a burner until they turned black, and he’d let me add them into the pot. When I got older and moved out of the house, I took those scents along with me. Nowadays, it seems I can’t make a stock or broth without using those ingredients to flavor them. There’s always a little Vietnamese inspiration in even the most American soups I serve, like chicken noodle or split pea. For this recipe, you start with a huge pot and 6 quarts of water, but you’ll reduce it to less than half of that in order to concentrate the broth’s flavors. You may only need a smidge of salt at the end, but sometimes I find that I don’t need it at all. The broth is finished with lime to perk it up a bit. - Furey and the Feast
Furey and the Feast

Food52 Review: This broth is like a modified pho, with star anise, cinnamon, and charred onion and ginger. But instead of beef bones, the broth is made with roasted chicken bones, and lots of them -- 4 pounds! Call your butcher ahead of time. We were able to get some from a butcher who stores them in the freezer. The only tweak we have for this very simple, aromatic broth is to pour off the fat from the roasting pan used for the chicken bones and use 2 cups of the water to deglaze the pan, so you don't lose those tasty bits in the broth! - A&MThe Editors

Serves 2 1/2 to 3 quarts

  • 4 pounds chicken bones (carcasses, or necks, backs, wings, etc.)
  • 2 medium onions, cut in half
  • 1 4-inch piece of ginger
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 quarts water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken bones in a roasting pan. When oven comes to temperature, roast bones for 1 hour, or until thoroughly browned. Remove from pan and place in a 10-12 quart stock pot.
  2. Place onion halves (peels removed) over the open flame of a gas burner. Use tongs to turn onions when needed. When onions are blackened, place in stock pot. Repeat method with ginger, but cut ginger into 1-inch pieces before placing in pot. Add carrots and celery to pot.
  3. Make a sachet of spices: Pile star anise, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves and garlic in a cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen string to make a little pouch. Add pouch to pot, as well as cinnamon sticks.
  4. Fill pot with 6 quarts of cold water, making sure to cover all ingredients (add more if you need to). Bring pot to a boil and immediately turn heat down to medium-low. Let the pot simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 4 hours. Refrain from stirring here, so that you'll end up with a clear broth.
  5. Remove all bones, veggies and spices from pot. Turn heat up to medium-high, and reduce to about half of its current amount. Taste, and add salt if needed. When broth is full-bodied and flavorful (and this depends on personal preference), remove from heat and cool. Add a healthy sprinkle of lime juice, if desired.

More Great Recipes: Chicken|Soups|Soup

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Comments (23) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago Furey and the Feast

That's a great tip! I've actually never used a crock pot for stock...


over 2 years ago Cuvee

If you are making stock and pressed for time, try a crock pot. Brown meat & vegs, then place everything in your crock pot and cook all night, or all day, without the risk of burning or evaporation.
I always take 2 days to make stock: one day to cook, day 2 to reduce. The overnight chill lets me skim almost all the fat, lets unwanted particles settle, and allows max flavor extraction. That's the way my Irish Canadian mother taught me.


over 5 years ago Priscilla

Go Cynthia!!!!!


over 5 years ago Furey and the Feast

Thanks, Priscilla!


over 5 years ago Helenthenanny

Congratulations Finalist!! Miss Furey, your food is SO pretty (I love the marshmallow strawberries from way back when too)!! And I love pho, so this will be really fun to try!


over 5 years ago Furey and the Feast

Helen, what kind words, thank you so much! I do hope you give the strawberries and the chicken broth a try!


over 5 years ago arielleclementine

i love the sound of this! beautiful. congratulations on being a finalist!


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I love these beautiful flavors!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Actually, I think I'll do a side-by-side test to compare. Given how often I make stock, the time difference really does add up, especially given that most of my cooking is done in the evening, after work. I see though that this one takes a minimum of five hours (assuming that the water is pre-heated) before you even begin to reduce it, and then there's the time needed to cool it down, so you're really looking at seven or eight hours . . . so I wouldn't be making this in the evening anyway and the extra half hour or so to heat the water after cooking the bones probably is immaterial.


over 5 years ago Furey and the Feast

A hearty thank you for the kind and encouraging words here. I'm honored to be a finalist.


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Is it necessary to put cold water in the pot? I usually put my kettle on while roasting the bones, and use that, to shave 20-30 minutes off the total cooking time (Our filter water is very cold, especially this time of year, so it takes quite a long time to bring 6, or even 3, quarts to a simmer.) I haven't seen the use of pre-heated water in any other recipes, so this makes me wonder if I really shouldn't be doing it. ;o)


over 5 years ago Furey and the Feast

Hi Antonia!
I learned that if everything is heated and comes to temperature at the same time, more flavor will be extracted from the bones and scraps. I asked around just to be sure, and that seems to be the general consensus: that when heated, cold water extracts more than warm water does. How this works, however, I have no idea!

But then again, if you've been using warm water for awhile and have made some great stocks and broths, then I say why not keep on truckin'? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. :)


over 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

What great flavors!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Congrats! What a great recipe. I read about this method of scorching the onion and garlic in the Pho Ga recipe in Alford and Guguid's beautiful and fascinating "Hot Sour Salty Sweet," and have been meaning to try it since then. Love this recipe and plan to try it this weekend. (Just picked up some backs and necks yesterday, knowing I'd be trying 2 or 3 new stock recipes soon!!) ;o)


over 5 years ago Lizthechef

Lots of pho in San Diego but usually beef-based. This most exciting and unique!


over 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

This recipe caught my eye right when it was posted - so glad to see it made the finals!


over 5 years ago NakedBeet

I love Asian soups in the summertime and this will be part of my freezer stock.


over 5 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Love star anise, in anything. And ginger. This broth sounds amazing. Love the story, too. Congrats on being a finalist and good luck in the coming week's contest!


over 5 years ago monkeymom

This is so dark and rich looking. Can't wait to try it!


over 5 years ago Furey and the Feast

Thank you guys for the kind words!


over 5 years ago TasteFood

this sounds lovely.


over 5 years ago theicp

Love your story and recipe - I also love putting a little lime juice in chicken soup just before I'm about to dig in.


over 5 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This sounds really wonderful ... I have never made my own Pho and am thinking perhaps it is time to learn ...