Chicken Stock. Hands down one of the true staples in every (non vegetarian) kitchen. Stock forms the basis for countless recipes. For that reason, it needs to be good. You can buy it in the store, usually loaded with sodium, MSG, and many other unpronounceable ingredients, and is it good? If you care about great taste, good health, and awesome food, you probably want to know what you are eating. And, chicken stock is one of those things, where you can, very easily, make your own.
Why Homemade is Best
Homemade chicken stock is richer and more flavourful than anything from a can or carton, or (god forbid), a bouillon cube. Good stock is one of those essentials that every kitchen needs (really needs) to have on hand. Real homemade stock is just real ingredients, and the sodium content is much lower. I personally feel that food waste is a bad thing, so, I like knowing that the chicken that I roasted is going in my soup pot. The labels on store bought chicken stock never tell you, what parts of the chicken were used, or where they came from. And, besides, roasting a whole chicken is a simple, satisfying meal.
Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Stock
So roast a lot of chickens, over the summer on the BBQ, and over the winter in the oven, or however you want.Then save the carcasses in the freezer. When you have three or four chicken carcasses, put them all in a large stock pot (no need to defrost) along with a couple of celery stocks (with leaves for more flavour) an onion, quartered (with skin on, which adds colour & extra flavour) , a carrot or two cut in half (not peeled), some sprigs of thyme & rosemary, a bay leaf and a handful of pepper corns. 3 small chicken carcasses will usually yield a dozen two cup portions of concentrated stock.
Make Your Stock
Cover everything with cold water, and bring just to a boil, then turn the heat to low and leave to simmer gently for at least two hours. (I usually simmer for 3-4), occasionally skimming any foam that appears on the surface.
Allow the stock to cool a little, and then it strain through a sieve. If you press on the solids while straining, your stock with have even more flavor, but won’t be as clear. (I usually press) Discard any solids.
Allow your stock to cool completely, and you should be able to skim off any fat from the top before putting into 2 cup freezer containers and freezing.
Now you have all of this lovely chicken stock in the freezer just waiting for your next soup, sauce, gravy, or whatever you like.
You can do the exact same with turkey, too, so remember this next time there is a turkey feast. (only one turkey carcass is all you need if using these guidelines)
How deliciously simple, right?