Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken Stock

I've only been making my own chicken stock for a few years. Let me tell you how easy it is! And you will never go back to store bought again. You also cannot believe what a bargain it is to boil a whole chicken! I buy a whole fryer for less than $5. I get so much out of it. First, here is the stock I got this evening. I got 7 & a half quarts!

I'll put caps on these jars & put them in the frig. When they have completely chilled, the fat will rise to the top so you can easily scoop it out. Then I usually put the stock into quart freezer bags, 2 cups to a bag, & freeze them. I always do this shortly before Thanksgiving so I'll have plenty of stock on hand. I just used up all of my chicken stock the other day because I made Homemade Bean with Bacon Soup (...yum).

Chicken Stock:

1 whole chicken, cut into 'frying pieces' (leg, thigh, breast, etc...) leave in all bones & skin
1-2 large onions, leave skin on, cut into quarters
1 head of garlic, leave skin on & cut in half
6 carrots, peeled & cut in half or thirds
5-6 celery stalks, with leaves (lots of flavor there!), cut into thirds
nice handfull of fresh parsley, rough chopped
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
10 sprigs of fresh dill or 2 t. dried
salt to taste, I always forget the salt & it turns out fine
1 t. whole black peppercorns
And this time I added about 1 T. dill seed ('cause I have a LOT) & 1T. corriander seed (cause I have a LOT) And I just remembered that I also added a few sage leaves.

Use a LARGE pot. I have a big 16 quart pan that I use for this. Put the chicken in & cover with water. I fill my pot to about 4 inches from the top. Add the rest of the ingredients. Set on stove on high to bring to a boil. . Stir often when if first comes to a boil & watch that it doesn't boil over. Simmer for a few hours. The house will smell unbelievable!
Here's what mine looked like before it came to a boil. The chicken & carrots sink to the bottom at first so you can't see them.

When it's done, I use a large slotted spoon to remove the chicken. It's usually falling off the bone. Put all the chicken on a plate & set aside to cool. I also use a slotted spoon to remove the carrots because we love to eat them. They are very tasty cooked with the chicken. The rest you pour through a small strainer into another large pot. I use one of those little hand held mesh type screen like strainers. The celery holds a lot of stock, so I usually press it a little & get every bit of stock out I can.

When the chicken is cool enough to touch, you can pick all the chicken off the bones. It sounds gross, but it's not. This is where you taste it & realize it's THE BEST CHICKEN YOU'VE EVER TASTED. It is so MOIST & FLAVORFUL. My kids can't keep out of it. They are usually sneaking bites before I'm even done picking & sorting it! Here is the plate of chicken I got from 1 fryer chicken...that cost less than 5 bucks...that's a lot of chicken!

And with 3 cups of this chicken (it was about 1/4 of that plate), I made a really good chicken salad for supper. Can you believe I've never made my own chicken salad before?

Here's the sandwich I had at supper. It was really good! (I'll post this easy recipe later.)

I still have chicken left over! It's hard to tell by this picture, but it's a good 3-4 cups worth at least. I could put 2 cups of this chicken in a large ziplock bag along with 2 cups of stock & put it in the freezer. I use this for a chicken speghetti casserole that I make (but haven't posted yet). Or I could just leave it in the frig for sandwiches. It makes the best chicken sandwiches...just mayo & salt & pepper. The kids will probably want me to do that.

I got all of this stuff from 1 $5 whole chicken:
7.5 quarts of chicken stock
1 nice sized bowl of chicken salad
1 large chicken sandwich (this is what daughter had at supper)
3-4 cups of left over chicken
*edited later to add:

left over chicken salad sandwiches for lunch AND supper the next day
2 cups of chicken left over was chopped & added to 2 cups of stock to put in the freezer for a casserole for another day.
Now that's a bargain!


Harmony said...

Definitely still a deal, but you should also add in the cost of all the veggies and spices you put in the stock. It does start to add up eventually. :-)

Chicken stock is a MUST in my house. If I don't have at least a quart sitting around, I feel lost as a cook. We eat a lot of soups and stews, and most of those require at least a cup or two of stock. Plus, what's better on a sick day than a bowl of homemade egg drop soup? Not much.

Jane said...

Hi Harmony & thanks for your comment.
Oh sure, I did add more ingredients to my stock than just the chicken. I didn't mean to imply that the stock cost less than $5. I just meant that that *chicken* was under $5. I was trying to show how much more meat & other stuff you can get from a $5 whole chicken, rather than spending more money to get a smaller package of differnets cuts of chicken.

I did spend a little on carrots & celery. Both the carrots & celery were only a few out of a full package, so it probably amounted to less that $1.50. The rest of the ingredients came out of our garden. I can't even calculate the herbs. They were the same as free.
To grow each herb cost me .59 for a packet of seed. I had a ton of herbs, so I'm trying to figure the cost. But actually, the 6-8 or 10 sprigs of any of the herbs was less than one-one hundredth of what I grew. So it was less than 1 cent per herb. Now that's frugal. LOL

Yes, you are right, if I were to have to buy those ingredients in the store, the total price of the stock would have added up a bit more.

ruth said...

I have found that my kids also love boiled chicken--more than roasted. And I love the stock. When my son gets sick, I boil a chicken and then I amke him drink the broth, one mug, three times a day until it is gone. Magically, he is always well by the time it is gone! The other morning he was sick, and on the way to school, and running late. I boiled up some chicken stock, whisked in a couple of eggs, poured it into a large styrofoam cup and sent him to school with totally homemade egg drop soup. He said people were quite intrigued by it.

Alison said...

We do the same thing with whole chickens. The stock sure does come in handy! I just wanted to mention that we find the stock a great way to use up vegetables that would normally go to waste. We always use limp celery that nobody wants to eat anymore and the carrots are usually a little rubbery too!