by Renée Kohlman
Making homemade chicken stock is simple to do, and one of the best skills you can have in your kitchen repertoire. Not only do you save money because you don’t have to buy the powder or the canned or boxed version, the stock itself is so much healthier for you because of all the iron, collagen, and vitamin-rich marrow from the bones. Also, you can control the amount of salt you add.
There are several ways to make chicken stock but my favourite uses the leftover bones from a chicken or turkey carcass and vegetable scraps I’ve been saving in the freezer. In other words, this chicken stock is practically free, and I’m cutting down on kitchen waste. Both of these things I like very much. We often use this method when we’ve roasted a chicken and have a leftover carcass. It’s a great way to not let good bones go to waste. Whenever I hear of folks throwing out chicken bones, I shudder and shake my head. They are practically throwing away pure gold in the garbage. Homemade chicken stock is the base for delicious and nutritious soups and stews. Let’s get started!
Homemade Chicken Stock
This method also works for turkey bones, though if the carcass is large, I’ll divide the bones into two or three freezer bags, or I’ll give some of the bones away to anyone keen on making their own stock. To cut down on kitchen waste, I keep a resealable plastic bag in my freezer and add any carrot peels, onion ends, celery trimmings, and parsley stems as I go along in my day-to-day cooking. When it comes time to make stock, I just use this bag of vegetable goodness instead of buying fresh onions, carrots and celery specifically for stock. If you don’t do what I do (but you should!) then simply follow the recipe below.
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 large celery rib cut into 2-inch (5 cm) segments
- 1 onion, quartered. No need to peel
- 1 carrot, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- a couple of bay leaves, a dozen black peppercorns, and a few whole cloves
- Put the leftover bones and skin of the chicken carcass into a large stock pot. Add the vegetables, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves.
- Cover with cold water (I like to make sure there is about 2-inches (5 cm) of water above the carcass) and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer the stock uncovered for about 4 hours. Be sure not to have it at a rolling boil – the stock should just be burbling on the backburner. If any foam comes to the surface, gently skim it off.
- Remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon or tongs and strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Makes 4-6 litres (16 to 25 cups) of chicken stock. Use to make soups and stews or cook your rice with stock for added flavour. Or freeze for later use. If you are vegetarian, you can still collect and use vegetable scraps, omit the chicken carcass and make vegetable broth.