I promised a follow-up to the chicken roasting post (here), and here it is. Every time I roast a whole chicken, or even buy a rotisserie chicken, I will save the carcass (is there a less gross sounding word for this?) to make chicken stock. It requires very little hands-on time, but it does take a few hours so it’s a good weekend or evening project. Store bought broth just doesn’t compare to the homemade stuff, flavor or texture-wise. And it goes without saying that soup made from slowly simmered chicken bones and meat is better for you, too. The basic recipe is just chicken bones and water, simmered for several hours. If I remember to save them, I might throw in some vegetable peelings too, but usually it’s just plain chicken.
Homemade Chicken Stock – makes about 2 quarts
Leftover chicken carcass
~8 cups of water
salt and pepper, to taste
veggie scraps, optional
Put the chicken (and veggie scraps, if you’re using them) in the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 hours, adding more water if necessary so that the chicken stays mostly covered. Once you like how it tastes (you can add salt and pepper now, or just wait until you actually make soup with the stock), pour the liquid off into mason jars and let the chicken bones cool down. Once they are cool enough to touch, pick through them: toss the bones but keep any little bits of meat that separated while they cooked. I can usually pick the bones completely clean. Add the meat to the broth in the jars, cool and freeze. For lower fat chicken stock, skim off the layer of fat that formed in the cool broth before freezing.
I have also tried this in the crock pot, and it worked very well. I just cooked it all day on the low setting. My small crock pot’s capacity isn’t as much so I only got 1.5 jars of stock, but it was a very easy process.