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Homemade Chicken Stock

April 11, 2012

After last night’s five minute dinner of chicken and cheese quesadillas, all that was left was chicken bones, skins and scraps.  I love cooking using a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store because it is inexpensive, cooked to perfection and, most importantly of all, very easy.

But until recently I had been disposing of the leftovers without realizing what I could be doing with them.  Once I started canning, though, I began to look at food in a different way.  Fruit seasons, for example, began to take on a whole new level of excitement as I came to realize the delicious bounty that home preservation brings as compared to store-bought food.  So I’ve begun making chicken stock out of my leftover chicken carcasses.  It is incredibly easy, delicious, and I am in total control of the ingredients.  I can add just the amount of salt I want without adding too much or too little, which seems to be the only options the grocery store offers.  Plus, I can use sea salt, which I prefer.  Generally, I prefer to keep it simple, without putting too much thought or effort into it.

First, I dumped the leftover chicken into my stock pot.  It goes in bones, skin, meat remnants and all.  I added carrots, and onion with a little bit of garlic and salt and pepper.  I would have preferred to add celery as well, but evidently I was out of it without realizing it.  Fortunately, it still turned out delicious.  It is also worth noting that I try not to put too much salt in it because I can easily add salt later as the recipe calls for it, but I do prefer to have some salt rather than none in my stock.  It seems to bring out the flavors more.  I added plenty of water to fill the stock pot.

Next, I brought it to a hard boil, then reduced the heat until it maintained a consistent, low rolling boil.

Once it was boiling for a while, a layer of frothy bubbles rose to the surface.  These contain impurities and should be skimmed off.

Generally, I’ve read the recommendation to let it boil for at least an hour, and I’ve also read recommendations that take the cooking time up to several hours.  In my case, it usually ends up cooking around three hours or so.  I don’t have a really good reason for this beyond that’s what fits best into my schedule between getting it started right after dinner and not wanting to start processing the finished product until after the girls are in bed.  That having been said, it’s always turned out really well so it’s probably what I will continue to do.

Once it finished cooking, I strained a small amount out to fill one pint jar and two half pint jars.  These went into my fridge for relatively immediate use.  I like using half pint jars as a convenient size for when I just want to use a little bit in my cooking.  Ideally, at some point I will break out my pressure cooker and can some of my stock, but as of yet I have not done this.  My only canning to date has been water bath canning, which is much simpler.  The remaining stock I put into freezer zip-lock bags and froze.  It will last several months in a deep freezer, and I have not yet had an issue using it all up.  If I start to get too much, I usually thaw out several bags and make soup.

Although I cook it for a long time, most of that time is relatively unsupervised.  Once it is boiling at the right temp, it can pretty much sit and boil on the burner for a long time.  This makes it an ideal thing to do for busy moms like me.


From → Food

  1. I love doing this, too. I usually freeze my stock, but since my freezer is getting so full as of late, I’ve been thinking about canning the stock. If you try it let me know how it works out.
    Thanks, Beth

    • Definitely I will! I think I’m going to have to get a bigger pressure cooker if I’m going to go down that route though. I already went out and bought a huge water bath canner since I’ve been doing so much of that. 🙂

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