TGIF, am I right? Is it just me or is the week after a holiday always a tough adjustment? It takes me a solid couple days to get my act together after a holiday, even if I didn’t host. Anyway, I have a really simple but impactful recipe for you today…homemade chicken stock. It only has a couple ingredients: some kind of chicken bones, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and water. That’s it!
A while back I posted about 5 ways to cut down on kitchen waste – mostly about getting to know your habits. I love making chicken stock because this is one more way you can cut down on waste. I almost always make my stock entirely from food scraps! Whenever I clean onions/celery/carrots/garlic, I put the scraps into a ziptop bag or container and stash it in the freezer. As I use more veggies, I keep adding to my freezer stash. I usually end up using about two sandwich-sized bags of veggies for a very large batch of stock.
This works for chicken, too. If we eat any chicken with bones, I throw the bones into a bag in the freezer. One whole chicken carcass can make an entire batch of stock. If you don’t usually eat bone-in chicken, you can also buy drumsticks or wings. You don’t need many – I made a huge pot that made enough stock for 4 soups with 5 drumsticks. That means the total cost for this batch of stock was under $3! You would pay that much for one large carton of stock from the store!
The trick to making stock is to let it simmer on the stove for a couple hours. I wouldn’t recommend making chicken stock when it’s very warm, because your house will get humid. You’ll need to add more water a couple times as it evaporates, but it’s low maintenance otherwise. Just let it go for around 3 hours, strain and use it, refrigerate it, or freeze it for a rainy day.
- leftover chicken bones, raw drumsticks or wings
- onion scraps (including the paper is fine)
- celery scraps
- carrot scraps
- garlic scraps or a couple cloves (including the paper is fine)
- Add the chicken through the garlic to a large pot. Fill the pot with water as much as desired, but leave about two inches of room at the top. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for a few hours (I usually end up leaving it on for 2-3 hours). Add more water to the pot as needed, as it evaporates.
- Once done, remove the larger pieces and strain the stock. Use immediately or store in airtight containers. (Alton Brown recommends chilling the stock in a sink filled with ice water before putting it in the refrigerator.)
- Stock will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days total. It also freezes well, both by itself or if you've already made soup with it.