September 11, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken Stock

I have found the goodness that is homemade chicken stock. I made my first batch awhile ago and placed 2 cup portions in the freezer for later use. And I will never turn back to store bought again (if I can avoid it). It is so much richer, and I love that I can control what's in it.

I wasn't out of my previous batch yet, but I did have celery that needed to be used up and a carcass in the freezer. When we have a whole bird, I strip the meat off and freeze the bones in a large bag, accumulating them until I have enough for stock. Here is how I make mine, and I highly encourage you make your own as well. You will be greatly rewarded.

Homemade Chicken Stock - Makes about 10 cups (2.5 quarts)
1 large (turkey) or 3-4 small (chicken) carcasses
2 carrots, washed, ends removed and broken in half
3 stalks celery, washed and broken in half
1 half onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon peppercorns (or a good amount of pre-ground)
1/2 tsp thyme
7 quarts water
Salt to taste

In a large stock pot, throw everything in and cover with the water. Heat to boiling, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for 7-8 hours. Once done, add salt to taste, if desired. Strain the liquid into another pot or two (depending on how much liquid you have left, and the size of your containers). Let cool, then place in the fridge overnight. The next day skim off any fat, then separate into desired portions.

Depending on how much your bones cooked down, it will be slightly jello-ish in texture once cool. This is normal and is from the natural gelatin in the bones being extracted. It will go back to it's normal liquid state once heated.

This time around I used little one cup freezer containers. When I get around to it, I will pop out the stock "cubes" into a freezer bag, so that I can pull out however many cups I need at a time.

I use my homemade stock in anything from soups to casseroles. The flavor really can't be beat.


Farm Girl said...

I know that to make true Basque soup you need to make your own stock out of oxtails. I have never tried it but with your wonderful recipe I might try it this year. It looks like really nice stock.

NetRaptor said...

I've thought and thought about making stock, but I'm afraid of the smell. You know the smell that dark meat gets when you boil it, sort of musky? That was how all of my great-aunts houses smelled, along with mothballs. Not pleasant. When you boil a chicken carcass, does it smell that way? Because I just don't think I could handle it if it did. :-(

Meg said...

Eh, not really. It smells more like the aromatics you put in it. Rachel came over that day and said it smelled really good. I thought it smelled good. Smells like soup.

myletterstoemily said...

making stock is my favorite part of
thanksgiving. i know, most people
say, "pumpkin pie!"

your recipe looks better than mine,
so thanks!!!!

NetRaptor said...

Hm, the smell of chicken soup wouldn't be so bad! I'll look into it next time I have a carcass. :-)

Meg said...


Hmm, I don't know... As much as I love homemade stock I think pie might win out! LOL!

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