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).
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?
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!