I've rarely made a great chicken broth, in my opinion. As of three minutes ago I made a mediocre chicken one, though the recipe sounded fantastic and was from one of my favorite cookbooks, whose dishes usually are full of taste. I refuse to believe that chicken broth has to be tasteless or worse. I also must admit that dishes have to be simply bursting with flavor for me to be happy, however.
I do know that beef broth can be amazing even to my taste; I learned that from the 1980s Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. When I look again at that, though, and its corresponding chicken broth, I see that they have a much different approach than I've seen elsewhere: to actually make the broth with plenty of meat, as well as with bones. Take the meat out (after just one hour, for chicken, four hours for beef) so it still is tasty and useful for all sorts of other dishes. For the chicken also take out the carrots and parsnips you've used after an hour and julienne them to serve in the broth, so they too are still tasty and useful -- which I really like, because I always feel so wasteful tossing the vegetables I've boiled to death over hours in a "normal" broth.
There is another approach I saw when I investigated this broth problem of mine. It was in the Jamie Oliver cookbook I just used in my Fill the Freezer day: Save with Jamie. This book is fantastic! I had dutifully gotten the ingredients he had called for for his aptly named "Mothership Sunday Roast Chicken," not realizing that I'd be filling my oven in minutes with his quick-to-assemble dishes -- not only a super flavorful chicken, but also a pan of the best roasted potatoes ever, some nice orangey carrots, and some tasty cabbage and peas! All of which are inexpensive vegetables, at least in this season and in my area! He had so many ideas to use up everything in the most economical and tasty ways!
One of his ideas I did not use was for broth using the bones (I used another cookbook for that) -- instead of trying to fight that broth can be bland, he just has you simmer the bones long enough to extract their goodness, without a bunch of other ingredients that can make homemade broth quite expensive, especially because you're going to be throwing them away -- yes, some nutrients do leach into the water, and the vegetables etc do add some flavor, but you're not getting enough of either to make me happy. Then to that plain broth à la Jamie you add ingredients you're actually going to eat and that add up to a tasty dish...
There are free recipes from this cookbook at http://www.jamieoliver.com/savewithjamie/ !
Another idea I've been seeing, and would like to try, for an economical -- and potentially tasty of course -- broth is to save up one's clean vegetable peelings, mushroom bits you may not have wanted to use immediately, and cheese rinds. Keep them in the freezer until you have enough, and then simmer them with water.
There is indeed one amazing chicken broth I have made, over and over in fact. It's in one of my column-of-fame cookbooks, Masterclass in Italian Cooking by Maxine Clark. The catch is, it has half a bottle of wine in it -- so can hardly keep from tasting fabulous! Hmm, I see I've changed the original recipe tremendously, so probably should post it sometime -- it's one of the most delicious things I've ever had -- an adaptation of her Medieval Capon Salad.
...Most often in the past, however, when a recipe called for a broth, I simply added another onion and a couple more garlic cloves and some more salt to the recipe -- with far better (and faster) results than a bland broth!
Any suggestions, tips, recipe recommendations?