How to Make Chicken Broth with a Deli Chicken

Chicken Broth

Happy Boxing Day! Just kidding, who the heck celebrates Boxing Day? (Well, except for most of the rest of the non-American English-speaking world.) For us Americans, the day after Christmas is better known as Christmas Cleanup Day. I spent the morning gathering up used bows and itty bitty scraps of wrapping paper ground into the carpet, cleared the dining room table of Christmas dinner remnants, and finally caught up on an item that had sat on my to-do list all week. As written in my day planner, that item was “Strip Chicken.” Yes, I still keep a day planner like a Melanie Griffith in the 1988 classic Working Girl, and yes, “Strip Chicken.” What am I doing stripping chickens, you may ask? Sounds a little illicit, like…

Chicken Strip Cartoon

Okay, not that kind of Chicken Strip….wah wah wah. Rather, the kind where you strip all the meat off a rotisserie chicken in order to use its carcass to make chicken broth. In my fridge for almost a week there has sat what I recently heard referred to as an “astronaut chicken”–you know, the kind encased in a plastic capsule that looks like it’s ready to be blasted off to the moon. A little bit like…

Astronaut Chicken

Okay, done with my terrible cartoons. I was pretty enamored of the idea of deli chickens as astronauts, so I was tempted to call this post “How to Make Chicken Broth with an Astronaut Chicken,” but somehow I don’t think that would be great for my search engine optimization.

Annnnnyway, let’s talk about the real reason for this post: to give a quick and easy tutorial of how to use an astronaut/rotisserie/deli chicken to make delicious homemade chicken broth. I try to do this every time I buy a deli chicken, and I’m never sorry I went to the effort. You can’t really beat a deli chicken for convenience, as well as providing enough cooked chicken to use in at least a couple of meals during the week. And once the meat has been used up in chicken divan, chicken tetrazzini, or chicken pot pie, you have a friendly carcass awaiting your use for broth to use in white chicken chili, lentil sausage soup, or broccoli cheese soup (shameless self-promotion, sorry). So grab your nearest astronaut poultry and let’s get started.

Homemade Chicken Broth with a Deli Chicken
A Love Letter to Food Original


1 deli chicken, stripped of all usable meat
1 carrot
1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic, peeled
about 15 whole black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sage leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 c. water


1. Place stripped chicken carcass in a large stockpot (if you have a pot with a strainer, use it–it makes things easier).

Chicken Broth
Chicken meat out-of-body experience complete

2. Assemble all other ingredients: 1/2 an onion, 1 carrot (no need to peel, just wash), 1 stalk celery, 1 peeled garlic clove, about 1 tsp./15 whole black peppercorns, and an assortment of fresh herbs. If you don’t have a variety of fresh herbs, feel free to use a single kind. (I don’t recommend using dried herbs for this recipe, though, since they are harder to strain out later.)

Whoops, I lied–16 peppercorns!

While we’re on the subject, did you know that most fresh herbs freeze extremely well? I for one almost never use up an entire container of herbs before they go bad, so I pop them in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer. FYI.


3. Place prepared vegetables and herbs on top of chicken in the pot. Pour in 8 c. water.

Press any herbs or vegetables down into the water if the water does not already cover them.

Chicken Broth

4. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, for 60-90 minutes.

Chicken Broth

5. When liquid is golden brown and reduced by about half, carefully strain out all solids. Cool broth completely and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Makes 1 quart.


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