For years, every time I’ve roasted a chicken I’ve had the thought that I should use the bones for a stock. It would be so tasty, so frugal and so resourceful of me to use up as much as I could out of that chicken meal.
So I would carefully store the carcass and veggies in a large zip-top bag in my refrigerator because after roasting a chicken I was tired! I planned on doing it the next time I had a few hours free.
Then life would get busy and the poor bag sat in my refrigerator, taking up space and not magically turning into healthy, tasty chicken stock. I always felt that if I saved the bones and just let them sit then I had failed somehow. And between you and me, nobody from the chicken stock police beat down my door anytime I discarded a chicken without making stock out of it, so this failure was pretty much in my head!
Finally, the stars aligned and I roasted a tasty chicken and saved the carcass and I. Made. Stock. I made no excuses and gave myself the whole weekend for chicken and stock, letting the chicken cool overnight and getting it right into the pot the next day.
It made my house smell wonderful and was so much easier than I could have ever imagined it would be! It looked just like something you would buy in a can or box from the store and honestly, anytime I can create things that look like things I would buy at the store, I am truly impressed with myself!
And now it is your turn. So roast that chicken, save the carcass and relieve the crisper of all those almost gone veggies because it’s stock time!
DIY Chicken Stock
Prep Tim: 30 minutes | Total Time: 6 hours, plus chill time | Makes: 4 cups broth
- 1 whole chicken carcass, including any skin and meat not eaten
- 3 cups (more or less), vegetable skins, ends and parts
- Fresh herbs, stems included (optional)
- 1 tablespoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 16 cups water (I had the carcass of a 5 lb. bird so if you have something larger you may want to add a bit more or less for a smaller bird)
- A handful of whole peppercorns
- Large bowl
- Fill a pot with water and add all ingredients, making sure the water submerges the carcass and all veggies
- Bring to a boil and cover, simmering for 4 hours
- Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes
- Strain liquid and all bits though strainer covered with cheesecloth positioned over a large bowl. Do it in multiple pours to make sure you have fully strained all the bits out and be careful as the liquid may still be warm
- Once all liquid has been run through, firmly press down on the bits in the cheesecloth to remove all juices
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes on counter then refrigerate in bowl for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight
- Once cooled fully, remove all fat that has risen to the surface and discard fat.
- You have stock!
- Wondering what the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth is? I know I was so I'm going to share that secret with you now. Broth is made mostly from meats and stock is made more from bones. To be quite honest, most of what I make is a cross between both as I tend to leave some of the really dark meat on the bird for the stock/broth. In my experience, I am able to use this stock the same way I would use broth and vice versa!
- This stock is best used fresh within 5 days and can be frozen for up to 6 months. Just remember to fully cool in the refrigerator at least overnight before freezing.
- This is a very forgiving recipe that will give you a great base for any meals that use broth so feel free to sub in just about any fresh herbs, seasonings and veggie remnants you have on hand.
- You can freeze the carcass if you do not have time to make the stock the same day the chicken is roasted, you will just need to allow some time for the carcass to thaw prior to making the stock.
- Save the stuffing! If you typically stuff your chicken with lemon, onion, or fresh herbs, add that to the freeze bag or to the pot! These are a great way to get new life out of scraps and will give your stock some great flavor since these have already absorbed all that great cooking liquid from the chicken the first time it cooked!
- When using your veggie scraps, do avoid tomatoes (technically a fruit!) and lettuce as these will greatly alter the flavor and may overpower any other dish you use it in.
- When removing the fat from the stock after it has cooled, I use a large spoon and just gently scrape the top and discard.