Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

With preparations for Thanksgiving dinner getting underway, I am making a batch of chicken stock.  Several of the recipes that I am making for Thanksgiving call for chicken stock or chicken broth.  I have been making my own stock since we began raising our own meat chickens.  I view it as a way of "honoring the sacrifice of the bird" by using all the usable parts.  I don't adhere to a strict recipe, so each batch is unique. 

A rough breakdown of the ingredients are as follows:

2 chicken carcasses  We throw all the bones from a chicken in a gallon ziplock bag after the meal and freeze it until stock time.
2 sets of chicken organs and 2 necks  We freeze these when the chickens are butchered so that I can just grab a bag out of the deep freeze.
4 chicken feet  Two chickens equals four feet.  The feet are high in collagen and great for stock.
3-4 carrots, thickly sliced
3-4 celery stalks, thickly sliced
1 medium to large onion, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
4-6 sage leaves
1 Tablespoon peppercorns

Throw all the ingredients in a large pot and cover completely with water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the temperature down to low, cover, and simmer for 2-3 hours.  I usually add water periodically as it evaporates. 


After it cooks, strain out the solids and discard.  I use a slotted spoon.  Then pour the stock through a fine mesh sieve and you are ready to go!  I usually don't need all of the stock at once so I have taken to freezing it in ice cube trays, then I pop out the cubes and put them in a freezer bag for future use.  Sometimes I only need a half a cup and it's easy just to grab out a few cubes.  Each ice cube is approximately 2 tablespoons, so 8 cubes makes a cup. 

Our family has really enjoyed the flavor of homemade chicken stock.  It is much richer than the broth that I used to buy.  I love that I know exactly what goes into it. It is wonderful to make something delicious out of bits of chicken I would have at one time dismissed and discarded!

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