In a previous post, I told you about my version of cutting up and baking a whole chicken and then making stock from the skin, neck (with bones), and other parts you might otherwise throw away. It was easy. And it made stock I could enjoy for months to come, thanks to the freezer.
Just to review, I just threw the chicken parts into the slow cooker with lots of water, some herbs and spices, celery (the tops are great for this), onion, garlic and carrots. I then let it cook on low through the night. In the morning, I let it cool down, strained it, and then put the stock into containers. One or two went into the refrigerator, but the rest went into the freezer for later.
Chicken stock is a great substitute for water in making soups or cooking rice. It can even be eaten by itself as good old-fashioned chicken soup.
I have no problem with the canned or carton chicken broth or stock you get at the store. The only real problem is the salt, even in the reduced-sodium versions. Also, making your own stock or broth is a lot cheaper. It’s easy and not really time-consuming. And the flavor difference is worth the effort and the time.
What’s the difference between stock and broth? Stock is made using bones, which yields a thicker liquid and nutritious gelatin.
Here’s a great recipe for chicken stock for those who don’t know quite where to begin.
Note: This recipe calls for no salt. It’s generally best to add salt when you’re cooking something with it.
- 2-3 pounds bony chicken parts, including necks, backs, and wings
- 4 quarts cold water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
- Cut chicken parts into several smaller pieces. Place in a large stainless steel pot with the water, vinegar and vegetables (except the parsley). Let stand for 40 minutes. Bring to a boil, and skim off and discard any scum that rises to the top. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for as few as 6 or up to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.
- About 10 minutes before taking the stock off the heat, stir in the bunch of parsley. This imparts additional minerals to the stock. Turn the heat off, and allow to cool slightly before removing the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon.
- Pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl or jar and refrigerate, covered. A layer of fat will rise to the top and congeal. Skim off this fat and save to use if you like. (I keep mine in a jar in the fridge, using it to roast vegetables, fry potatoes, or baste the roasting chicken.) Reserve the stock in covered containers in your fridge or freezer. It will keep in your fridge for 3-4 days; if you want to keep it there longer, you need to boil it again. In the freezer, it will keep for several months, but you will use it up before then: in soups, sauces, rice, etc.
You’ll find lots of uses for this chicken stock in The Bachelor’s Kitchen. I only make mine when I have chicken parts available anyway. I don’t go buying chicken just for making stock or broth. So, I keep canned or cartons of store-bought chicken broth in the pantry at all times.