Why would you want to make your own chicken stock when you can just buy it you ask? Well there are two main reasons. Reason #1 is it tastes better! I am a foodie after all and the little things really do add up. Especially when making a soup or stew or something that requires a lot of broth. It also won’t be overly salty the way most store bought stuff is.
Reason#2 is that it’s cheaper! As I’ve mentioned before we eat mostly grass fed pastured organic meat. And that aint cheap. So you better be sure I’m getting my money out of that chicken. A good large pastured chicken is going to cost anywhere from about $15-20 around here and that will get us 2 full meals plus nearly a gallon of stock. Not to bad if you ask me.
Now, there are several ways to make chicken broth. This is one way. I like this way because it’s really easy and you can use the chicken to make in other dishes pretty easily by just taking it off of the bone. I like to take the chicken breast off after it’s just cooked through and save the other parts for other dishes such as chicken fried rice, or chicken salad or really anything. This one also is one of the most nutritious ways because you are cooking it from the whole chicken thus getting all of the calcium from the bones. A good chicken broth will gel up once chilled in the refrigerator. But don’t worry, it goes to liquid again once it’s melted. It just means that you got all the really good stuff out of it and you can feel better about yourself when you use it to cook up white rice. I do at least.
Enough talk, lets cook!
You will need:
1 whole chicken rinsed and the insides taken out but reserved
salt and pepper
seasonings that you like such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil (dried is fine)
1 yellow onion, chopped
vegetable trimmings (the part that you would normally just toss)
1/2 or so of white vinegar
Doubled cheese cloth or pillow case for straining
I don’t like to overly season my broth because I like it to be adjustable to what I’m using it in, but it still needs something.
First thing is you just take a large stock pot and put the whole chicken in and cover it with cold filtered water. Add the vinegar to it. Let it sit for about an hour. This helps to get as much nutrition pulled from the bones as possible. You can skip this step but since you’re doing it anyways you might as well do it. Right?
After you soak it go ahead and toss everything else in and let it simmer for about 45 mins. After 45 mins. you remove the chicken breast and reserve it for other meals. You can take the legs off now so they can fit in your pot better if they didn’t already.
Now put the bones back in the pot and add more water if needed. You want it to cover the chicken completely. Now just simmer it all in there stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours more if you have the time. I like to skim some of the excess fat off the top (it’s yellow) and take some of the skin off while it’s cooking.
Ok, the hard part (if you can call it that) is over. Now you just have to make sure that you strain it properly. You take a large pot or bowl and top it with a large strainer and a doubled cheese cloth. If you don’t have one you can just use a pillow case. Now pour the chicken broth into the strainer. Take the large pieces including the chicken and set it aside to pick through later. You don’t have to strain it again but I usually do. I do this so that you have smooth broth without anything floating around in there. It also gets out some of the extra fat so you don’t have to remove it later.
Now, let the broth cool and then pour it into glass mason jars or several gallon sized plastic jars to freeze.
Pick over the chicken and reserve it for any future meals and your done! See now that wasn’t so hard was it?