Chicken Stock

Inspiration: B and I joined a meat CSA in November, and as part of our share each month, we get a whole chicken. Starting in March, we’re getting a larger share and will be receiving two whole chickens per month. That’s a lot of chicken, and it’s a lot of opportunity for homemade chicken stock! I imagine that I’ll be trying out several stock recipes, and this was our first one. I really think that it’s such a great thing to put every bit of a chicken that you eat to good use. The chicken meat itself  can make several meals, and the rest of the chicken can provide you with a freezer full of stock to use in future meals. I really don’t think that there’s a better way to appreciate your food and the animal that gave it to you than that.

What we Loved: B and I absolutely loved this chicken stock. It’s so flavorful, and it’s definitely much better than any stock that I’ve ever bought from the store. There are just layers of flavor, from the meaty and rich chicken flavor to the great herb taste of the rosemary and thyme. And this stock just smells wonderful, too! It really does have such a homemade, quality flavor that store-bought stocks don’t have.

Helpful Hints: If you use the chicken skin or other fatty parts of the chicken while making the stock (which I did here, throwing every little bit that I had into the pot), it will result in a fairly greasy stock. As advised in the original recipe, put the chicken stock into the fridge overnight to cool completely, and this will allow the grease to rise to the top and solidify a bit. Then you can scrape off most of the fat and separate your stock into smaller containers for freezing. For planning purposes, this recipe makes about 10-12 cups of stock. I bought a bunch of 2-cup storage containers, so that I could freeze my stock and take small portions out of the freezer as I needed them.

Chicken Stock
Source: Love and Olive Oil

I changed the recipe a bit. I omitted the celery, parsley, and madeira wine, and I changed some of the seasoning amounts. After eating our first meal with this chicken, I took the skin off the leftover meat, removed the meat from the bones, and shredded it for soup. We had a lot of extra clean bones and skin for this reason, so I threw them into the pot as well. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

1 whole chicken carcass (+ any extra bones, skins, etc., if desired)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 gallon (16 cups) cold water

1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large stock pot (I used an eight quart pot) over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion, and saute until softened and beginning to brown, approximately 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.

2. Add the herbs and spices, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the chicken carcass and any extra chicken pieces. Pour in the water a cup at a time, filling to one inch below the rim of the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, until the liquid just begins to bubble. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the stock maintain a low, gentle simmer.

4. Simmer uncovered for 2-4 hours. Remove from the heat.

5. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot, discarding all of the solids. Allow the stock to cool completely until the fats separate. I cooled my stock in the refrigerator overnight.

6. Skim as much fat as you can from the surface of the stock.

7. Divide the stock into freezer-safe containers, and store in the freezer.

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