Homemade Chicken Stock

So a few posts back when I made those Chicken Soft Tacos with Tomato Corn Pico, I reminded you to SAVE THOSE BONES! when you were through picking that carcass clean. At any given time I have a ‘bone bag’ in my freezer containing all the bits and pieces of my left over whole chickens, thighs and legs I make throughout the month. All those bones are thrown into a large freezer proof Ziploc and tossed in cold storage for use at a later date. Then about once every 2 months I open my freezer and realize it’s turning more into a graveyard then it is a storage device for my food. So I break out the cast iron dutch oven, make a trip out to the garden for some fresh herbs and toss in whatever decaying vegetables I may have lying around begging to be used and create the most delicious, savory chicken stock you will ever taste! Forget that stuff in the cardboard box with its loads of sodium and an artificial flavor, once you realize how quick and easy this is you’ll never purchase it again. Also this stuff freezes beautifully! Storage containers are easily stackable and keep for months. Portion them out in 2 cup intervals and when the time comes you can have the most flavorful soups and chili’s you have ever made…and just in time for football season! (let’s go Buffalo!)

Homemade Chicken Stock
Yields about 6 cups

1 whole chicken carcass (or a collection of thigh and leg bones)
1 whole onion, unpeeled and cut in half
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and smashed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 whole bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 bunch fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 or 3 carrots, unpeeled and chopped in half
2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped in half with the leaves

And here’s the beauty of this stock, for example in the above picture I was fresh out of celery and carrots so I skipped them, no big deal! Don’t have any thyme, throw in some Italian seasoning. Like a little kick, put in a dash of cayenne pepper or if you like it sweet, a dash of saffron. You get the idea, experiment and make it your own!

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Pour in enough water until the chicken is covered by about an inch. Pop on the lid and heat over medium heat until boiling, after 2 minutes reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. The longer the better as it extracts more flavors from the bones and the veggies.

Strain the veggies and the bones from the stock and allow stock to cool. Pour into storage containers and place into refrigerator for 2 hours or allow to cool overnight. When you remove your containers from the fridge you will notice that a little fat has risen to the top of your stock. With a large soup spoon skim the top layer of the stock and discard as much of the fat as you can. Place storage containers in the freezer or they can be left in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Remember this recipe around Thanksgiving time when you are ready to chuck that turkey carcass in the trash. Save those bones and make some savory turkey stock to keep you warm during those winter months. Hopefully Florida will be a little warmer this year ;)


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