As I mentioned in my Thriftin’ and Chick’n post a few days ago I like to make homemade chicken stock from the leftover carcass of a roasted bird. Sure, it’s so easy to grab a can from the cabinet, but what fun is there in that? And have you ever really looked at the stuff coming out of those cans? It’s really gross, with bits and pieces of mystery substances floating in it. I’d much rather make my own. Not only is it healthier but it also makes use of the whole bird so you don’t waste a bit. Well, other than the innards shoved in the cavity of the bird. I forgot I was making stock and threw those away.
After you roast a bird and enjoy a succulent chicken dinner there tends to be a lot of meat left over, at least in a household of two. Once the chicken cools I pull as much meat off the bones as I can and put it in the fridge for chicken salad, stir fry, soup, etc. Then the fun begins! Ok, so it’s really not that fun or exciting. But it is easy and makes the house smell wonderful! Just make sure you’ll be able to stay near the stove for a couple hours. You don’t want to burn the house down for a few cups of broth!
What You Need:
– Carcass of 5 lb chicken, including skin and innards (if you remembered to keep them and they don’t gross you out)
– 1 onion, quartered. I like to leave the skin on, it gives great color to the stock
– 3 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
– 4 carrots, cut in large chunks
– 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
– 3 sprigs parsley
– 2 bay leaves, pepper, any other spices you like- I add about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, because I add them to everything! *
– 8 cups cold water
*traditionally salt is not added to a stock, since it can make soups or sauces too salty
What You Do:
Add carcass and chicken bits, vegetables, spices, and water to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for at least four hours. Enjoy the smell of Thanksgiving in your house.
Now from here you could strain all the bones and other bits from the stock, let it cool, and throw it in the fridge to use as you like. Or you could cool it to room temperature and pour it into ice cube trays to freeze for future use. However I do it a little different. After I simmer it for about 4-5 hours (I’m a night owl so it’s easy to do) I take it off the heat, let it cool, and put the whole pot in the fridge overnight. I feel like this lets the flavors blend together even more. Then the next day I put it back on the stove, bring it to a boil and simmer for another hour or so. THEN I strain all the solids out of it and store it in a jar in the fridge. I feel like this yields the best results, but it could be in my mind and this extra step is probably not necessary.
Now once the stock starts to cool you’ll notice a layer of fat floating on top. I put it in the fridge like this and just skim the fat off after it solidifies.
After this has been refrigerated for 12-24 hours you should notice it has thickened up and become gelatinous. Basically it will look like chicken jello, which would be pretty gross when you think about it. But this just means you did it right, and you did it well. When you simmer the bones long enough you extract collagen, which has many health benefits and makes for a gelatinous stock. Once it is heated it melts back into a wonderful liquid stock. For more information on stocks in general check this out!
And that’s it. If you have about 5 minutes to chop up some veggies and a few hours to babysit the stove then you can make this nutritious base for many meals to come!
What ways will you use your stock? Please share your recipes in the comment section below!