To this day, my mom has always made chicken or turkey stock immediately after a holiday dinner. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to start but I am so glad that I finally gave it a try. I was amazed at how easy it was and can’t wait to start using it! Here’s what I did:
One evening last week I baked a whole chicken(locally raised and free-ranged) for dinner. I smeared it with butter and seasoned it with sea salt and pepper. I shoved 1/2 an onion and a couple of garlic cloves into the cavity. I saved the neck and bag of goodies inside to use later.
After dinner, my wonderful husband actually did the glorious deed of cleaning all the meat from the bones. The meat will be used in BBQ chicken pizza and frozen for chicken noodle soup later.
The empty carcass was saved in the refrigerator until I had time to make the stock.
Saturday morning I simply put the chicken bones, including the neck and innards(first I read up to make sure it was safe to mix cooked and uncooked together-it’s all good!) into my water bath canner since that is the biggest pot I own. Brought that to a boil, then regulated the heat so it kept a good simmer. Stuck the lid on it and went on with the rest of my day.
After simmering for 2 1/2 or 3 hours, I started the next step. In order to remove the bones and things I strained the stock in just a regular strainer into smaller pans. This also helped with the cooling process. Note: I did not skim the fat off. You may want to read up on this before you decide to skim or not to skim. Since I baked the chicken there was not much fat anyway. After removing the large pieces I restrained through a tea towel to get all of the really small gunk(technical term there!). At that point I had some wonderfully clear, delicious smelling(and tasting) homemade chicken stock. I really wanted to can it but I do not yet have a pressure canner so just to be on the safe side I chose to freeze it. I now have a great supply of stock to stick into soups and many other dishes for flavor and added health benefits. Ice cube trays hold about 2 tablespoons per cube so it will be great to have small amounts to throw into various recipes. I know that many people add carrots, celery, and other seasonings to their stock. Since I had already seasoned and baked my chicken it was full of flavor so I didn’t feel the need to add more. I may next time though just for the added nutrients.