Making your own chicken stock is a great money saver (and huge flavor enhancer). It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and is a good way to get a second use out of things you would otherwise throw away. I’ll make it any time we use a whole chicken (rotisserie or home-cooked) for anything. To start with, you’ll need the carcass of the chicken. If you don’t have time to make stock right away, you can always freeze the carcass and make the stock later. You can also actually buy chicken bones from the butcher – my grandfather does this. Add a few vegetables, let it simmer, strain it, and you’re good to go. The resulting broth tastes way better than the stuff from a box/can, has less sodium, and doesn’t contain any preservatives or other weird ingredients. Always good to know what’s in your food, right?
- 1 chicken carcass (leave on any scraps of meat)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 onions, halved
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- fresh or dried herbs (whichever you like – thyme, rosemary, dill, bay leaves, etc.)
- cold water
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven (at least 6 quarts) over medium-high heat (these pics show a stockpot because I took them before I got my Le Creuset; in the future I would probably use that). Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften and brown slightly (about 7-10 minutes). (I cooked my veggies separately in a skillet first – no reason to do this and all I accomplished was dirtying another dish ) Add the chicken carcass to the pot and add enough water to nearly fill the pot, making sure the bones are submerged. Stir in the peppercorns, salt and herbs. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow to cook for 4-5 hours*.
Remove from heat and use a fine mesh strainer to strain the stock into a clean pot; discard the solids. Cover and place in the refrigerator until a layer of fat forms on the surface. Skim off the fat and separate the stock out into storage containers (I find it useful to store it in 1-2 cup portions). The stock can then be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen for later use**.
*If you don’t have time to hang around the house while this simmers for hours, you can also make your stock in a crockpot. Add all of your ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 10-12 hours (overnight works great). Strain and store as described above.
**If you store your stock in the refrigerator, you may notice that it has become gelatinous/ semi-solid. This is okay! That is actually what you WANT to happen – it means you’ve extracted more of the nutrients from the chicken bones and your stock will be extra flavorful. As you heat it for whatever dish you are making, it will liquefy.
Yield: about 4-5 quarts
Source: straight from Solano’s Kitchen