Chicken stock is a building block in so many recipes. Before I started regularly making my own, I found myself buying several quarts of chicken broth from the grocery store every time I made a visit.
What a waste of money!
If you can boil water, you can make chicken stock. Really, it’s just that simple.
So what’s the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock? Broth is made from simmering meat while stock is made from simmering bones. I prefer stock since I think it has a richer flavor.
Unless a recipe specifically calls for boneless chicken, I usually opt for bone-in pieces just so I can use them to make stock. Once the meal is over, I collect the bones in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer until I have enough to make a big batch. You don’t even have to let the bones thaw, just dump them in a large stock pot with enough water to cover. Although, it will take longer for your water to come to a boil.
Making homemade chicken stock is also a great way to clean out the veggie drawer in you refrigerator. Have some carrots that are past their prime or celery that has gone a little limp? Chop them up and add them to the pot for more flavor. I also like to add a few cloves of garlic and a bundle of fresh herbs if I have them. I don’t typically add salt to my stock so that later I can control the seasoning in whatever dish I’m using it in.
My pressure canner/cooker has since become my favorite way to make stock. I can get a rich, golden broth in about a quarter of the time it takes to simmer my broth in a stock pot. But don’t run right out a buy a pressure cooker just for this. A large stock pot works just fine. Put the pot on the back burner of your stove and let it simmer for a few hours. A crock pot also works well.
Homemade chicken stock can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. It is usually recommended to let cooled stock sit in the fridge overnight to let any grease float to the top and harden. That way you can just scrape the grease off the top. Up until I got my pressure canner/cooker, I stored my chicken broth in quart sized plastic bags laid flat in my freezer. Once frozen, you can stack them on top of each other.
These days I usually can my stock. Once I have removed any grease that has formed on the top, I’ll reheat my broth before measuring it out into sanitized and heated glass jars (putting hot liquid in a cold glass jar can cause the jar to crack). You must use a pressure canner to can chicken stock. A water bath canner does not get hot enough to prevent spoilage.
I did not include instructions below for making chicken stock in a pressure canner since you should really consult your user’s manual first. However, if you have any questions on using this method, leave me a comment and I will be glad to respond.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 chicken carcass with as much skin removed as possible
- 2 carrots halved crossways
- 2 celery stalks cleaned and halved crossways
- 2 cloves garlic halved lengthwise
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bundle fresh herbs – thyme rosemary, sage, oregano – whatever you have on hand
Place chicken carcass in a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to the pot to completely cover the chicken.
Add vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves, and herbs. Cover pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Skim off any foam that forms.
Reduce heat to low and allow stock to simmer for about 3-4 hours. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool.
Pour stock through a mesh strainer into a large container. Discard any solids left behind. Allow stock to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Remove and discard any hardened grease that has formed.
Add chicken carcass to the crock pot.
Add vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves, and herbs.
Add enough cold water to fill the crock about ¾ full.
Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for four hours.
Turn heat off and allow to cool
Continue with step four listed above.