Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's Cookin?: Homemade Chicken Stock

I've been wanting to make homemade chicken stock for a while now. I'm tired of paying too much money for a top quality broth. It turns out earlier this week, the stars aligned. I had some leftover organic juicing carrots in the refrigerator and it was also time to harvest some home grown celery and parsley. There was a also a great sale on Foster Farms whole chicken fryers at 79 cents a pound and a great sale on fresh herbs at 2 for $3.00.

It seems it was really meant to be! I based my stock recipe on Ina Garten's Chicken Stock recipe. I made some minor changes. There was no way I was going to be able to fit 3 (5 lb) roasting chickens in a pot with all the extra goodies so I used only 2 whole chickens. I also took them out after about 1 hour of cooking and shredded the meat (who wants to waste good chicken meat?). I also added additional things that I thought would give it extra flavor. The parsnips were too expensive so I omitted it. It was a half day affair but so well worth it! The broth turned out excellent!! It's under salted but I like having control of the salt content depending on how I use the broth.

I highly recommend making your own. There's no way I'll go back to store bought now! This recipe makes a ton of broth. I divided them up into plastic containers and froze them. As an extra bonus, your house smells amazing!! Some recipes use chicken carcasses that would save money but I hardly buy whole chickens. Another recipe I saw used chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks) and roasted them in the oven with the vegetables before simmering them on the stove. That looked and sounded good. Maybe next time I'll try that recipe.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe at
Makes about 6 quarts

2 (5 lb) roasting chickens plus necks, rinsed & remove liver from cavity
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled & quartered
2 leeks, remove top half & cut the bottom in 1/2 the long way
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
6 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
20 sprigs fresh parsley (stems included)
15 sprigs fresh thyme (stems included)
20 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
7 quarts water (or 28 cups) plus 2 cups extra reserved

1) Place the chickens whole plus the necks into a 20 quart or larger stockpot. Add the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic & seasonings into the pot. Fill with 7 quarts or water (or 28 cups) and bring to a boil.

2) Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Simmer soup, uncovered, for 4 hours. I added about 2 cups more of water halfway through as some water evaporated from simmering.

**Note: If you plan on using the chicken meat for other recipes, after cooking for about 1-1.5 hours, carefully remove chicken carcasses. Be careful as the chicken will be very tender. Allow the chicken to cool until you are able to handle them. Shred the meat from the bones. Save the bones and return them to the stockpot.

Allow your chicken pieces to cool and package them to freeze for later. I ended up with about 3 lbs. of chicken meat. I packed 2 (1 lb.) bags for larger meals such as chicken enchiladas or soups and 2 (1/2 lb.) smaller backs for small meals such as chicken salads.

3) After your soup simmers for a total of 4 hours on the stove, turn off the heat. Place another large pot (or use multiple smaller pots) in the sink and place a colander over the pot. Strain the entire contents of your soup through the colander and discard the solids.

4) Once the stock cools, package into smaller containers or bags to freeze. The stock keeps for 3 months in the freezer.

**I ended up with 6 (1 pint) containers, 3 (1 quart) containers and 6 c. extra. The 1 pint containers are about the size of 1 can of store bought chicken stock. I used the extra 6 cups of stock for instant gratification and made some French Lentil and Vegetable Soup. It was delicious with homemade stock!!**


Annie's Granny said...

I buy large packages of chicken thighs for Annie & Otto, then cook them in the large crockpot. I strain off the juices, siphon off the fat with a turkey baster, then refrigerate the rest overnight. By morning it is gelled, and I can then proceed to make chicken stock by simmering it with fresh vegetables and seasonings. I have to do it in two steps, as the dogs can't have anything with onions in it. This week I made a killer spicy chicken taco soup. My daughter wanted the recipe, but there was none....just tossed in whatever fresh veggies I could find, with a jar of home canned tomatoes, a can of black beans and a packet of taco seasoning.

the red headed traveler said...

Thanks for posting a recipe! I also feel that chicken stock is too much in the stores for quality that isn't even that good.

~Holly~ said...

annie's granny: Lucky your have chicken eaters at your house! Good way to make them dinner and make yourself some yummy stock!! Your chicken taco soup sounds like a winner!!

the red headed traveler: You're welcome. If you're interested in the roasted chicken recipe, it's at food network (bobby flay and anne burrell's recipes). I hope you enjoy making stock. It takes a long time but it's sooo worth it!!

Ben Czajkowski said...

Oh wow. That's an insane amount of chicken stock. I would love to turn that into delicious soup :)

~Holly~ said...

Ben: It is a lot but since it keep in the freezer, you'll be sure to use it all up...esp in yummy soups!!