Chicken stock is the basis for so many recipes. And the quality of your stock can really make or break your dish. Don't rely on that stuff in a can. It's fine for an emergency like when you open the freezer to grab out a packet of homemade chicken stock and realize you are completely out (aaaggghhh!!!!!). Things like that never happen to me. I'm always prepared and on top of things. (In my dreams!) You can season the contents of the can to make it work in a pinch. However, once you start making your own, you'll never go back (intentionally).
It really is a very simple process. You don't need a lot of exact measures of ingredients, just a general idea that you're heading in the right direction. The more you make it, the easier it gets. Just make sure you freeze any leftover chicken carcasses you have. Then, you always have the basis for your homemade stock.
After you make and strain your stock, make sure you refrigerate it overnight. That makes it so easy to skim the fat off the top. If it comes out of the refrigerator looking like jello, that's a good thing. It took me a long time to figure this out. The first time I pulled a container of gelatinous broth from the refrigerator, I freaked out! I mean, the stuff in the can is liquid. I must have done something wrong! Turns out, I finally did something right.
The best way to ensure you get the best quality stock is to throw in a pack of chicken necks or backs with your carcass. Don't panic if you don't have any leftover chicken carcasses. You can always just use the necks or backs to make stock. Most grocery stores sell them prepackaged.
I like to make big pots of stock so that I have enough to last for a least a few weeks. I freeze it in ziplocs in 8 ounce portions because that's the measure that I use most commonly. Feel free to freeze it in the portion sizes you use most.
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- 2-3 chicken carcasses or any combination of chicken carcasses, backs, and necks
- 1 large onion, wedged
- 2 large carrots, cut in 2-3 inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, cut in 2-3 inch pieces
- 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
- ⅛ cup whole black peppercorns
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- Salt, to taste
- Place chicken, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme (if using) into a large stockpot.
- Fill stockpot with water.
- Add salt, if desired.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, until broth starts to reduce down.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Strain broth into a large container.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g