My wife and I enjoy cooking (she is the better cook by far!). We try to make our meals as healthy as we can, and one way we do that is by making our own chicken stock. It is easy to do, tastes better than store bought chicken stock, and is a much healthier option – less sodium and no yucky preservatives!
How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
There are several ways to make chicken stock, but I will share the method we use most often. Whenever we cook a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken, we save the skin and bones for the stock.Then we throw them in a pot, add a few ingredients, and it’s done! Here is what it looks like while it is cooking:
Here are the steps we take:
1. Put leftover chicken bones and skin in a large pot and cover with water. The picture above is from a recent batch of chicken stock we made – there are three chicken carcasses in that pan, along with several carrots, a couple stalks of celery, and a couple large onions. We had to use our turkey pan to fit all the ingredients!
2. Add chopped carrots, celery, and onions. There is no need to chop them finely; simply cut carrots and celery to fit the pan and peel and quarter the onion.
3. Add spices to taste (salt, pepper, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, etc.). Use less salt if you are using the leftover carcass from a store bought rotisserie chicken because there will already be added salt and spices.
4. Simmer uncovered on low heat for at least 4-5 hours. You will want some of the water to boil off, which concentrates the stock and gives it a richer flavor. We usually leave the pan covered until the last half hour or so, depending on the desired richness.
5. Strain, cool, and store. You will want to strain the chicken stock through a small mesh colander to ensure the little bits of spices and herbs are thoroughly removed. After that, dish the chicken stock into individual containers for storage (we usually store the chicken stock in one or two cup portions).
If you cool it in the fridge for a few hours you can skim off any remaining fat. If you do not use the chicken stock within 48 hours, you should freeze it. The batch pictured here was frozen in the plastic containers, then transferred into Ziploc freezer bags for easier storage until it was needed. Just be sure to write the date on the bag!
Other tips: We sometimes freeze the chicken carcasses until we have time to make the chicken stock. Just put them in a freezer safe container and store them until you are ready. This is why the batch pictured above had three carcasses in it. The good news is that we should have enough stock to last a few months!
Ice cube trays. Another tip some people use is to freeze the chicken stock in ice cuve trays so you can add as little or as much as you need. Again, you will want to transfer these to a freezer safe container after they freeze to retain freshness.
Use the stock! Once you have your homemade chicken stock you can use it in recipes, such as this great recipe which show how to make homemade noodles. Make your own noodles, use your homemade chicken stock, add some chicken and vegetables, and you have some healthy, homemade chicken noodle soup!