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extra credit: make your own chicken stock.

We cook a lot with chicken stock and with fall soup season approaching I thought I’d do a little extra credit post on how to make your own rich and flavorful chicken stock.

Start by sauteing up some onions and carrots.  Then throw in herbs, salt and pepper.

I nearly always do this after preparing (and then devouring) a roasted chicken, the remnants simmering in my stock for several hours the following day and making the house smell like Thanksgiving.

One nice thing about making your own stock is that you can decide how much salt and fat to include (or remove).

So in our case what starts as this…

…ends up looking like this after being skimmed.

In the end you’ll have your own hearty chicken stock that costs at least half of what you’d buy it at the store for, though I think it’s likely more.  AND…you can brag to your friends about how resourceful you are!

DIY Chicken Stock:

1.  In a large stock pot saute 1 sliced onion and 3-4 carrots in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Saute 8-10 minutes or until carrots are soft and onions start to become golden.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and any fresh or dried herbs you’d like (parsley, sage, oregano, thyme, a bay leaf, whole cloves).  Cook, combining to mix the flavors, for 1-2 minutes.

2.  Place the leftover bones (and skin for extra flavor) from your roasted chicken into the pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, combining them so the flavors get to one one another.  Then add 8 cups water.

3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to bring the stock to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered 2-3 hours, occasionally removing the foam that comes to the surface.  The stock will be a medium to dark brown color and should be rich in flavor.

4.  Remove the bones and strain the stock over a large bowl.

5.  Refrigerate the bowl of strained stock for several hours until the fat appears on the surface of the stock.  Skim of as much of the fat as possible using a spoon.

At this point the stock is ready for cooking or you can freeze for future use (I freeze by the 2-cup bowl full, then remove the frozen stock from the bowls and place separately in zip lock bags.

Cost Savings?

By my estimation the stock would cost about $1-2 to make (I’m not including the bones from the roasted chicken, just veggies and herbs).  Typically I find stock at the store for $2 for 4 cups.  So you’ll save at least 50% (likely more) AND have the added benefit of making it all from scratch and knowing exactly what went into it, especially fat and sodium-wise.

Think you’ll give it a try?!  If so let me know your thoughts and if you think it’s worth it!

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tony #

    I’ve been making my own stock for years. My Grandma taught me years ago to not waste anything, so…. just like you after a chicken dinner, make stock with the bones. One thing I have done different from you is place the chicken bones in cheese cloth and tie off. That way I don’t have to strain it all out and worry about getting burned with steam or spashing any on me. Just lift out the cheese cloth bag full of chicken bones and toss it on to the compost pile. No straining needed.

    September 15, 2011
    • LOVE the idea of the cheese cloth and perfect that it’s all compost able too! Thanks for the hot stock tip!
      K

      September 15, 2011
  2. And to think that you and your teenage friends used to laugh at me when they saw all those ugly chicken bones in our freezer!

    September 15, 2011
  3. I hate onions so I always struggle with whether it even makes sense to make chicken stock with bones and the like. I always feel like it just concentrates into next to nothing and dirties up a pot for very little in return. Maybe I need to rethink all of this!

    September 29, 2011
    • Have you tried shallots? That might be a way to get the flavor without the onions.
      Thanks for the feedback!
      K

      September 29, 2011

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