Chicken broth is the flavorful building block of so many great recipes, from soups and stews to tagines and risottos. But too often, we opt for ease over taste and reach for the store-bought stuff, sacrificing flavor and richness. High-quality broth is simple to make at home, but it does require one important ingredient: time. As with any meat-based broth, simmering a chicken carcass long enough to fully break down its collagen is a process that can take several hours.
With this in mind, we set out to create a rich, weeknight-friendly chicken broth that could be made in about an hour.
In our testing, we focused on how to make the most of the meat and bones—and discovered a few important shortcuts along the way. We opted for chicken drumsticks or wings (both worked well), since they have a relatively high proportion of collagen-rich skin and cartilage. We also found that slashing the chicken parts and cutting the wings at the joints helped release both collagen and flavor faster. As a bonus, this also left the meat intact enough for another use.
Another time-saver: We threw aromatics and seasonings—the onion, garlic, bay and peppercorns—into the pot while it was starting to heat. This way, the flavors infused the liquid as we prepared the chicken. (We experimented with other techniques to enhance the aromatics, such as charring the onions, but found that this simpler, faster approach resulted in the best flavor with the least fuss.)
In the end, we got a superior broth with good color, flavor and body with a mere 15 minutes of hands-on prep and just over 30 minutes of simmering.
If you used drumsticks, remove the meat, discarding the skin and bones; you’ll have about 3 cups meat for making chicken salad or adding to soups. If you used wings, discard the tips (if present), toss the drumettes and flats with about 1 cup barbecue sauce and arrange in an even layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from the element until well browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes total, flipping the wings about halfway through.