I buy a lot of whole chickens. They are a frugal way to buy meat and one bird can serve as the basis for several meals. As with any convenience food, the more processed a chicken is, the more it will cost. This is why chicken breasts cost so much more per pound than a whole chicken. You are paying for someone to cut and trim your meat.
This week I roasted a six pound chicken. The four of us ate the breasts as part of a roast dinner then I pulled all the remaining meat off the bones and refrigerated it for later. The carcass I used to make stock.
Homemade chicken stock is so much tastier than store bought. You can adjust the seasoning to your tastes and control the amount of sodium added. I don’t add salt or pepper to my stock. I add it when I add the stock to a recipe. This way I avoid over salting.
|Onion skins add flavor and color to the stock.|
To a large stock pot add the chicken carcass, two carrots, sliced in half ( no need to peel), celery stalks with the leaves attached, one large onion, cut in half with the skin left on, and two bay leaves.
|Adding too much water will dilute the flavor of the stock.|
Fill the pot until the water is just above the chicken.
Cover and bring the pot to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for three to four hours. The house will smell divine and your dog will position himself in the kitchen, just in case there is some of that chicken goodness for him (at least this is part of the recipe in my house!).
|This is what is left of the stock ingredients.|
Let the stock cool on the stove for a few minutes then strain the stock into a large bowl.
Let the stock cool completely. If you are in a hurry you can put the bowl in the fridge to speed the process up.
With a large spoon, skim off the fat from the surface of the stock. Leaving a little is OK.
Ladle into containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Some cooks like to make chicken soup with the carcass and remove the bones at the end. This is not for me- too much fat in the broth and too many little bones and other unidentifiable chicken bits for my liking. I like a nice clean stock to which I can add other ingredients.Use the stock for soup, to cook grains, to make gravy and to add flavor to any dish that calls for water.
Chicken stock is value added to the purchase of a whole chicken. This week, besides the roast and the stock, that six pound chicken ended up in a curry, sandwiches and of course chicken soup, which will feed us for several days. Oh, yes, and our dog made out as well!
See you in the kitchen,