I buy whole chickens and break them down. With that, I have plenty of bones and scraps to make a great flavorful stock. Not only does it add flavor to any dish you add it to, but it is practically non-fat and very low sodium.
If you don’t breakdown your own chickens, you can buy the left over parts on sale at the grocery store. Just talk to the butcher, and some even package them to make it easy.
Similar methods can be used to make almost any stock. Differences may be in herbs/spices and how you prep the bones before use. I use dried herbs below, but you can use fresh herbs as well, just double the amount.
The recipe below made about 10 cups of broth. I put about 1 cup into a plastic bag and then freeze it. This will allow for quick defrost and not spoiling if I only have to use a little at a time
2 LBS (approximately) of Chicken bits, including neck, gizzards, etc.
4 – 6 cloves garlic smashed, skins on
1 – 1/5 TBS whole peppercorns
1.5 TBS dried Oregano
1.5 TBS dried Basil
1 TBS bouquet garni
1 TBS Rosemary
1 large onion cut into quarters
1 bay leaf
1 cup rough chopped carrots (two handfuls of baby carrots cut into 3rds)
4 stalks celery, including leaves, cut into 3 inch pieces
1TBS celery salt
1.) Put all chicken parts, skin side down into an 6 – 8 quart stock pot over med high heat. Let start to brown and the fat begin to render.
2.) Add All other ingredients, stir occasionally and continue to let the fat render and lightly brown the chicken and slightly cook the other ingredients. About 10 minutes.
3.) Fill the pot with warm to hot water (as to not shock the pan), with enough water to cover all of the chicken.
4.) Keep over med – low heat and simmer for 3 – 4 hours, stir occasionally. There will be a lot of fat on the surface. This is OK. If you have to skim, then do, but there is a better way not to only remove the fat, but to also remove all of the loose herbs. That is coming up.
5.) When done, turn off the heat, cover the pan and let cool.
6.) Once cooled to the touch, remove all of the large bones, pieces and throw away.
7.) Next, run the remaining liquid through a strainer to catch the peppercorns, large herbs, carrots, etc.. You can mash them to extract more flavor, and throw away when done.
8.) Cover and place the liquid in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.
9.) You will notice that fat has solidified and all of the loose bits are stuck in the fat. Get a spoon and remove that fat, bits and discard.
10.) Almost done. While the broth looks fairly clear, there is one last step. Get out another bowl, place a cheese cloth (doubled or trippled in thickness) or clean cotton towel and strain the broth at least once, if not twice through the cloth (rinse the cloth in between). This will remove all of the remaining sediment that is at the bottom of the pan.
You now have a chicken broth you can use to make soups, in place of butter/oil when making quick weekly night dinners, etc. And it is better than what you get out of a can. Chicken stock, out of a can or homemade does not last long in the fridge at all. About 2 days. So use what you can. That is why I freeze it is small quantities, but not too small.
Some uses for Chicken Stock:
- A base in a sauce for chicken or pork.
- In place of butter to flavor/steam vegetables, such as potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, etc.
- Vegetable or Hot and Sour Soups
- Stir Fry
- Making Rice – use instead of water to add flavor
- Using a non-stick pan and sauteing chicken or fish
Turkey stock: You can use pretty much the same recipe with left over cooked Turkey or Chicken bones, you would just not have to brown the bits first.
Beef/Veal/Lamb stock: This is similar, however, to get the richest flavor (raw or cooked bones) you would first roast them in a 375 degree oven until the bones are nice and brown. Then proceed with the remainder of the recipe. The herbs provided above work well for a beef stock as well.
Vegetable Stock: Same thing, but without the meat. However, you would add a little olive oil to lightly brown the vegetables. You can change up the herbs and add more vegetables. Roasted vegetables provide a great flavor. When done, you could puree the while thing, and strain through a cheese cloth to remove the pulp.
There you go. Homemade stock and if you look at it, it really did not take much effort at all. Just your stove doing most of the work.