Our chicken stock stash has been running a little low, and with Thanksgiving it was time to cook up another batch this yummy golden goodness!
I haven't bought chicken stock from the store in years, because it's just too easy to make your own & so much more delicious! I haven't priced it out, but I'm sure it's much cheaper too.
My method - I collect ingredients over time by throwing them in the bottom basket of my freezer. Whenever I cook a whole chicken, I automatically toss that carcass in a plastic grocery bag or freezer bag & chunk it in the basket. Chopping up celery or carrots for snacks? Throw the ends in a grocery bag & chunk it in the basket. Baby carrots starting to get dried out? Chunk them in the basket. This way, whenever I am ready to make stock I have all the main components right there ready to go. It's one of my favorite "hacks" to reduce kitchen waste!
The Froot Farm Chicken Stock Recipe
1. Find a big stock pot & dump your frozen (or not) chicken carcass in there. Crank it up to Medium High - I like to let it warm up & get a little brown-ish on the bottom while I'm getting the rest of the ingredients prepped & in. Adds flavor!!
2. Skin an onion, quarter it, dump it in the pot.
3. Dump celery in pot - You can use 1 whole bunch of celery, roughly cut, or you can use a couple bunches worth of roots/tops leftover from chopping up celery for snacks or another recipe.
4. Dump carrots in pot - You can use 2-3 whole carrots, roughly cut, or you can use about 1/4 to 1/2 a bag of baby carrots or roughly the same amount in leftover stems/pieces from other recipes. I've even thrown skins in there before from peeling carrots! (Just be sure to wash your veggies properly, y'all!)
5. Peel 2 cloves of garlic, smash them with the flat part of your knife & chunk them in the pot.
6. Seasonings thyme!! (bad joke haha).
Parsley - Grab a small rough handful of fresh parsley or sprinkle about 1 Tbsp of dry parsley.
Thyme - Grab a small rough handful of fresh thyme sprigs or sprinkle about 2 tsp of dry thyme.
Bay Leaves - Throw 2 small or 1 big bay leaf in the pot.
Salt - I just kind of lightly sprinkle salt over the whole top of the pot - maybe 1-2 tsp. Start light, and then as it cooks you should taste it every couple of hours to adjust seasonings.
Pepper - 5-6 Whole Peppercorns or give the pot a healthy sprinkle of ground pepper.
(Optional: I like to also throw in 1-2 whole jalapenos. I love the flavor & light spice that it brings!)
7. Start pouring in water! By now, the bottom should be sizzling a bit & you can go "ooo" & "ahh" while it sizzles & steams when you add water. Fill up that pot to a couple of inches below the top of the pot. The more water = more broth!!
8. Once it's boiling, you can turn down the heat to a healthy simmer. Let her go for NO LESS than 4 hours.
I typically let mine go all day or overnight. I've let a stock simmer for 3 days before straining it once (oops) & it ended up just being one of the most rich, delicious broths I'd ever made. I'll often partially cover the pot to help keep the evaporation down.
9. Check on it every once in a while (I shoot for about once an hour), give it a little stir, & add water as needed. If you're only cooking it for about 4 hours, you likely won't want to or need to add much if any water. However, for the longer hauls, you'll need to add water as it continues to cook down.
Starting at about 3 hours in, I will taste it every time I check it so that I can adjust seasonings or add salt as needed.
10. Once you are ready to process it, line your favorite colander with cheesecloth and begin straining the chicken stock in batches. Be sure to strain it over another container & not over the sink like I did one time (doh!). Then, pour that nice, clean strained broth into clean jars.
11. Let the jars cool at room temperature for a couple of hours, then transfer to fridge, freezer, or process following recommended pressure canning practices for chicken stock.
12. Dispose of or compost the mushy stuff & remaining bones. Don't give cooked chicken bones to your pups as they are dangerous!