Here is a great substitute for chicken broth/stock and an even better one for water! You could even thicken this with a roux for a nice mild sauce to pour over your fish or chicken. I don’t really think there is a set list of ingredients for this wonderful liquid.
When you simmer vegetables they give up all of this colorful essence to the water you are using and this is what makes your broth. A good combination of vegetables and herbs will make a flavorful broth. You can control just how strong or mild you want this to be especially, if you don’t want to overpower the food you are using it with. For example, if you use it as a liquid for your rice and you only want it to enhance the rice enough to omit using salt or butter so, the rice be the main flavor.
It is worth the effort as this will keep 4 to 5 days in the fridge and freezes well. My recipe is a combination of herbs and vegetables that most people will have on hand (I think). I wanted to have a good 2 quarts of broth so, I used 10 cups of water to start.
Here is what I added (I actually did not measure ingredients) onion, carrot, baby belle mushrooms (washed at last second), garlic, leek, celery, 1 red pepper top, 1 green pepper top, 2 bay leaves, fresh ginger and a bouquet of fresh parsley, tarragon, rosemary and thyme wrapped between two leek tops. You don’t want to cut these ingredients too big because, this is not a long simmer like meat stocks are.
Add all of these things to the water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for an hour. Strain through a fine strainer and make sure to press down on the vegetables with a large spoon to extract all of the liquid that you can get. Cool it down to room temperature and store it in your fridge or freeze it in 2 cup containers. It is that easy! If you wanted to try a more specialized broth like an Asian or Italian style of broth then you could experiment with vegetables and spices that most associate with those cuisines.
It is always best to add salt and adjust seasonings after you decide how you want to use this. Think of this as your first flavor before you start layering on the real character of your dish. This is the perfect canvas to paint on. Whatever you do, don’t ever use that disgusting bouillon.