Homemade Chicken Stock

Several months ago I embarked on a quest to make all five Mother Sauces.

Life and writing a book got in the way, but I am back on track!

The first sauce I attempted  was Bechamel Sauce and then I moved on to make Clarified Butter, which was not a Mother Sauce, but will be used in the next sauce I make, which will be Velouté Sauce.  Upon reading about Velouté Sauce, I again had to stop the process because one of the main ingredients is Chicken Stock (or veal or fish stock).

I just have to tell you just how wonderful and easy it is to make chicken stock! First off, a box of chicken stock usually can run you almost $3.00 per box.  I am going to show you that for less than the price of that one box, you can make a gallon of stock to keep in your freezer that tastes far superior and is probably way better for you than that store bought box.

First off I must explain that there is a difference between chicken broth and chicken stock.

Stock usually involves simmering bones and vegetables in water which yields a heartier flavor and in my opinion, a better product. Broth usually involves simmering meat on its own (or even vegetables on their own), resulting in a lighter and brothier feeling flavor.

I truly feel stock is superior and most of us have at our disposable the perfect and inexpensive option to make this weekly at our house.

Enter the super market roasted chicken carcass.

If you’re like me, you use these to your advantage.

I love to use them at our house to make chicken salad or chicken enchiladas. They’re just SO good and in a pinch, SO easy to grab on the go and use.

Instead of throwing away the carcass of the roasted chicken after you’ve picked the meat clean off of it, toss that baby into a large pot.

Fill the pot up with cold water.

Now at this point you need to add flavor by way of a vegetable mirepoix, (pronounced meer-pwah), which is nothing but celery, carrots and onion.

Roughly chop up three to four stalks of celery and go ahead and leave those leafy green leaves on as well. The leaves have beautiful flavor! Keep in mind that we are going to strain this entire thing at the end, so we don’t need to go through a lot of fuss over chopping and peeling things.

Also chop up 2 good-sized carrots. I didn’t even peel mine. I just scrubbed them real quick.

Chop one large onion into fourths.  Don’t bother with peeling it unless it seems uncommonly dirty, just give it a rinse and whack it into fourths.

Toss the entire thing into the pot with the celery and carrots.

Now, if you have access to fresh herbs, grab some parsley, thyme and rosemary and add in a few generous handfuls of each.  Don’t bother to chop it or take it off the stems, just rinse it and add it in.

If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried.  Use about one-half teaspoon of each.

Also add in 5 black peppercorns or if you don’t have those – about 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

I don’t add salt to my stock as I prefer to season it later when I’m using it for whatever I’m choosing to use it for. I like to control the salt that way. But I do add one bay leaf!

I also smash up two cloves of garlic with a knife and add them in, peel and all. Remember we’re going to strain them out later so no fussing!

Now turn your heat up on your pot and heat it up until it just begins to bubble.

You really don’t want to hard boil this, you want to gently and tenderly simmer it or else it can cause your broth to be cloudy. Turn it down to where it just simmers and if any foam surfaces to the top of the pot as in the photograph above, gently skim it with a spoon and toss it out!

Now I actually cover my pot part ways with a lid, leaving a space for venting at this point (so it all doesn’t evaporate out!) and then I continue to simmer the pot for up to four hours. You don’t have to stir it, you don’t have to fuss with it, just gently let it bubble away.

This was after four hours.

 

The color of the broth will have deepened to a golden amber and look rich and yummy and wonderful.  At this point, I always enlist the help of the Wonderful guy to come and pour it through a fine strainer for me.

Come to think of it, he’s a pretty FINE strainer if I do say so myself!

If you don’t have a fine strainer, line a regular strainer with a thin towel and pour your broth through it.

Discard all the solids.  Then you’ll need to let the broth cool down so you can place it right into the refrigerator in a large bowl.

Or you can section it out into freezer containers like I do.  I buy these large jugs with screw on lids for $2.00.  WARNING…do NOT pour the hot broth into these or they’ll melt (right Rose?).  Let it cool to at least warm before you pour it in.

But don’t put the lids on until they’ve cooled off.

Put them right into the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Also, you can let it chill overnight and then take a spoon and skim any fat right off the top making it even more healthy and lowfat!

 

Then, screw the lids on tight and transfer them to the freezer.  You’ll have around a gallon of stock for your next recipe that calls for it and it’ll be better than any store-bought boxed stock… I guarantee you!

If you don’t have time to make the stock the night you debone the chicken? Toss the whole carcass right in its box into the freezer and save it for a weekend when you have time!  If you don’t feel like fussing with vegetables and herbs, at least just make some plain ol’ broth with water and the chicken carcass.  Whatever you do, don’t throw away those lovely bones, they are genuine, liquid gold.


Homemade Chicken Stock
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 store bought or roasted chicken carcass
  • one gallon water
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ c. parsley (or ½ t. dried parsley)
  • 1 good size sprig rosemary (or ½ t. dried rosemary)
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme (or ½ t. dried thyme)
  • 5 black peppercorns (or ½ t. pepper)
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Add carcass to large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with water (about a gallon).
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce to low simmer for four hours, skimming off any foam that rises to surface.
  4. Strain through fine strainer or pour through thin dish cloth covered strainer into heat resistant container(s) and cool in refrigerator overnight. Skim off fat (optional) and freeze for up to 2 months.

 

 

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