June 26, 2012 by Suzanne
Chicken stock is used in a variety of dishes, so it is something that you’ll want to keep around all the time. However, it’s kind of spendy to buy nowadays, and it’s impossible to find it ready-made without added sugar and/or MSG. But don’t despair, because it is totally easy to make it yourself, not to mention being half the price.
The first thing you need to make stock is a stock pot. Mine holds 5 qts, and that’s just right for one 3-4 lb chicken. The second thing you’ll need is a chicken. As of now (mid-2012), you can get whole chickens at Costco for 99¢/lb, and you can probably get one cheaper if you find a sale. One chicken makes 4-5 qts, so the price per qt comes out to between $1-$1.20. If you buy it per box, it’s generally over $2 per qt, and the cans are even more expensive. And the best part is that after you’ve made your stock, you’ve got a cooked chicken!
To make stock, place your chicken (3-4 lbs) in your stock pot and add:
2 medium onions, cut into quarters
3-4 stalks celery, cut into thirds
2 bay leaves
2 T sea salt (available in bulk)
If you don’t worry about sugar or carb content, only put in 2 celery stalks and add 2 carrots cut in half
You can add parsley, but it doesn’t change the flavor and it makes the finished stock a considerably darker color.
When all your ingredients are added, fill the pot to the top with cold water and simmer on medium heat for 3-4 hours. There will be some scum that forms on top of the water in the first half hour to 45 minutes of simmering. Just skim it off.
If the water level lowers, top it off with very hot water.
When it’s done, remove the chicken and the vegetables. I find the easiest way is to use a slotted spoon to get most of it out, and then to pour the rest through a strainer. Cool the stock in the fridge so the fat will solidify on the surface so you can remove it.
I generally freeze my cooled stock by the quart in gallon ziplock bags, but if you want to freeze it another way or can it, that would work just as well. It’s great to use for soup or any other dish where you would use chicken broth or stock.
Your leftover cooked chicken will be extremely tender, so much so that it will probably fall apart. You can cool it and eat it on salad, you can put it in soup or casserole, or you can make a chicken salad for sandwiches. It will be too soft to really eat by itself in a meal, but still useful and tasty.