There’s a lot of fast-and-loose use of the words “broth” and “stock.” Now that “bone broth” has been added to the stew of terms, things are even more confusing. So I’ll start by simply laying out my definitions, so we are on the same page. For me, broth is simpler and meatier. When I poach a chicken, say, in salted water that has a little onion and garlic, perhaps a few bay leaves and sprigs of thyme, what’s left after I take the bird out is broth. Typically, I’ll pull the meat off the bones to use on tostadas or in enchiladas, then throw the bones back into the pot to simmer an hour or two longer to get as much flavor as possible out of them. When I’m making stock, I follow the more European approach of roasting or blanching bones, slowly cooking a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onion, then combining everything in a pot with herbs and simmering it for several hours. The result often has a richer texture and more pronounced vegetable flavor. In most Mexican dishes, the broth I’ve described is what is what gives the perfect balance.
For this recipe, I’m giving you my favorite electric pressure-cooker version, because that very popular piece of kitchen equipment is the easiest way to get to the most delicious broth. If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker, simply simmer the broth covered in a slow-cooker for 8 hours or so or on the stovetop over medium-low heat partially covered for 3 to 4 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the liquid level consistent.
I am looking for a full meaty flavor here, so I typically go to the grocery store or meat market and look for the cheapest bone-in chicken parts, which often are drumsticks. If I have access to chicken bones (what I used to buy as backs and necks, though they seem less available these days), I’ll use about 2 ½ pounds of them, adding ½ pound of ground chicken to add more meaty flavor.
- 3pounds cheap bone-in chicken parts
- 2tablespoons vinegar (optional, but it will give the broth a more velvety texture by drawing gelatinous components from joints and bones)
- 1large white onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2head of garlic cloves peeled and halved
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 or 5sprigs of thyme (or a teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1tablespoon salt
In the pot of your electric pressure cooker, combine all of the ingredients with 3 quarts of water (the level should be no higher than 2/3 of the depth of the pot). Pressure cook on high for 1 hour. You’ll get the best flavor if you let the pressure release naturally rather than utilizing the quick-release valve). Strain the cooker’s contents and you’re ready to use your delicious broth.