The cure all of all cure alls. Homemade chicken stock. Who doesn’t love the feeling of bending down over a hot steaming mug of homemade chicken soup? Or adding flavor and texture to easily bland brown rice? Chicken stock to the rescue.
And soup is most lovely when it is made with homemade stock. Once you’ve done it you won’t believe how easy it is and how little time it takes to make several quarts of good quality stock. Here’s my method.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 2 chicken carcasses (I normally save mine in the freezer after I roast chicken for making stock!)
- 2 medium size onions, peeled and cut in quarters
- 3 stalks of celery, washed and cut into four inch pieces
- 3 carrots, washed and cut into four inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- A handful of peppercorns (probably about 1 Tablespoon or so)
- 3 -4 quarts (12 – 16 cups) of water
In a large stock pot, place the chicken in first and then fit in all of the remaining ingredients around them, pouring water on last. Make sure that the water covers all of the chicken, adding more if necessary.
Turn stove on to medium heat and bring to a boil. Skim off any yuckies on the top from boiling, then reduce heat to very low/barely on and simmer for several hours with the lid on. I normally simmer mine for about six hours.
You can also do this in the slow cooker on low for several hours . . .
Once simmering is over, allow to cool and remove all vegetables, bones, etc. from the stock and discard. If there are still little pieces of stuff, strain. Decant into quart-sized, wide-mouth freezer-proof Mason jars (or smaller, pint-sized jars if you prefer), allowing head room for freezing expansion, label, and freeze. OR. . . you can can your stock for shelf-stable pantry storage!
If you plan on using the stock within a day or two, simply place the amount you will be using in the fridge. Once it cools a layer of fat will rise to the surface (this also happens with the frozen stock). Simply remove and discard with a spoon before using.
This stock can be used for hundreds of recipes, from adding flavor to brown rice, to substance in soup, to just adding some noodles or dumplings to when you are sick. As it does not have any salt in it, it can also be used in baby food preparation.