Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Homemade chicken stock for just pennies per gallon!

How do you make a gallon of homemade, uber flavorful, super rich chicken stock for just pennies? First start with the leftover carcasses of two roasted chickens - skin, bones, pan dripping, the works (neck bones and giblets too, but no livers please).

I used the worlds juiciest oven-roasted chickens ever for this batch, but rotisserie chickens work wonderfully as well. I'll spare you a photo of the carcasses :), but put all the icky bits in a really big stock pot; I like a 12qt, heavy duty.

Incidentally, you can make this stock with uncooked chicken, it just won't be nearly as colorful, and it won't be quite as flavorful, but hey, it'll still be way better than the canned stuff.

Additionally, you'll need 3 peeled carrots, the leafy top 2 inches of a bunch of celery, 2 jumbo onions, 1 head of garlic (yes a whole head), 15-ish peppercorns (no salt yet), 2 large bay leaves (Turkish please, California bay is way too strong), and a good palm full of dried parsley; like 2 tablespoons (or a bunch of fresh parsley stems if you happen to have them). I'll also add the following if I have them on hand - mushroom stems, a few sun-dried tomatoes, scallion trimmings, parsnips, leek trimmings, etc.

Okay, time to prep the veg - chop the onions into big chunks, leaving the skins on - they add wonderful color. Cut the head of garlic right in half - skin and all. Use the top 2 inches of the celery bunch and the white inside stalks and leaves (lots of yummy flavor there). Peel and trim the carrots and chop into 1-inch piece.

Now throw everybody into the stock pot and cover with water. Crank up the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to barely simmering (if you're making this with raw chicken, you may want to skim the scum off the surface after 15 or 20 minutes). Simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, but you can let it go for as long as 10 or 12 hours; add more water if you need to, but if you're simmering on a low enough heat, and you're using good heavy stock pot, you shouldn't need to.  Warning:  Your house is going to smell amazing!

Mmmmm... see how the onion skins have turned almost a mahogany color? That color equals tons of flavor. Yum!

Now strain all the bones and veggies out of this rich, nutritious, delicious liquid gold.
Be happy I didn't post a photo of that step - not pretty!

Now, add salt to taste (very important!), and there you go... the most amazing homemade stock imaginable. So easy to make and SO much better than anything you can get at the store... and let's not even attempt to compare it's virtues against that other stuff... you know... that stuff called bullion (please don't say that word out loud - there are impressionable children all around).

You can easily cut this recipe in half, but why make a little when you can make a lot. Did I mention it costs mere pennies to make a gallon of this stuff? Literally, this huge batch of stock cost me less than a buck. You can't even think about buying a vastly inferior can of the grocery store stuff for less than a buck, forget about 8 cans. Stock your freezer, and you'll never have to settle for less again! Stay tuned for my quick and easy chicken noodle soup.


  1. I'm ashamed to admit I've never made my own stock.... Thanks for sharing the steps. I'm ready to try it now. :-)

  2. You won't be disappointed, I promise!!!

  3. I always keep the bones of roast chickens in a big plastic storage tub in the freezer, and when I have enough I'll make stock.

    But, using raw chicken actually makes a better stock. Since it'd be quite a waste to buy chicken just for this purpose, I'll save the wings and spines when I'd rather just cook the breasts & legs of a whole chicken.

    You've got to throughly brown the meat and bones first. Just put the pot over high heat, and get it deep brown all over. Toss in the veg, and same, let them develop color. Toss in enough water to cover the bottom with maybe half an inch. Scrape up all the flavor stuck to the bottom, bring to a simmer, and add the rest of the water. Keep partially covered at a LOW simmer. No need to boil the heck out of it. You'll get a lot more flavor from your roast carcasses, with just a wing or two, too.

  4. Hi Alex... I was referring to totally raw chicken bones, but you're absolutely right... browning them first makes a big difference. Btw, wings actually contain a pretty high percentage of gelatin, which is a very good when you're making stock. And yes, low and slow are the way to go :).

  5. Mine doesn't come out near as pretty as yours does :(

  6. You and I have the same kitchen counters. You sure you're not cooking in my kitchen? :-)

    I really like that Foodgawker rejected picture. TasteSpotting usually rejects my work because it's "out of focus" and Foodgawker accepts it. Weird.

  7. I have submitted just as many photos to TasteSpotting as I have to Foodgawker, but Tastespotting has never sent me an email explaining their reason for rejecting my photos (even though I've checked the little box asking them to).

  8. I made the stock again tonight but I cheated and used a roasted chicken from Costco. The stock isn't as tasty as when I made it with your "the juiciest oven roasted chicken ever"
    That's the last time I cheat on stock. :-)

  9. Hi Tammy - I'm so glad you've tried it both ways. Yes, I prefer to use home roasted chicken too, but if I'm stuck for time, I'll use a rotisserie.

    We must be cooking twins because I made a batch of this stock yesterday too. It's been raining and chilly this week so I used it to make a huge pot of chicken noodle soup - we've been grazing on it all day... soooo good.

  10. Great post to flashback to!! Thanks for joining me. I hate wasting things and love to use my carcasses! Great post to show the ease of this little project. And hey..I can relate to the rejection! Their favorite comment to me is dull and unsharp..... On that note, have you seen the new blog called Tastestopping. Completely devoted to rejected FG & TS photos!
    www.tastestopping.wordpress.com. This guy had a great idea!

  11. I've thought of doing something exactly like that... had a great name already picked out, but don't really have the time to devote to such a sight. I'll go check it out right away - thanks for the link!!!

  12. Wow!! your chicken stock turned out great... It is a great way to not waste any food.

  13. awesome! I need to make my own stock!

  14. (Sorry I left a comment on your apple cake, thinking it was a super foods post! Clicked through wrong...)

    Again, your photos are awesome. I did NOT know about the carrot skins making stock taste off - I always leave them on. ?? Did you know if you let the bones set an hour in the water with a splash of vinegar, it will draw more nutrients out of them and make your stock even healthier? You can also cook it up to 24 hours to really get it rich.

    Thanks for entering!

    PS - Please include a link to the carnival in your post so your readers can benefit from the other great recipes.

  15. is not only a cheap way to prepare this, this belong for a long time in your kitchen, beside anything that be prepared with onions have a delicious flavor.

  16. Hi,

    Nice Recipe posted here.. Really Like it but the way of preparing this recipe is so dirty ...

  17. what's the difference between chicken stock and chicken soup?

  18. You should resubmit the picture of the stock in the pot - the 3rd from the bottom with the greens on top. It is beautiful and I would be shocked if they rejected you.

  19. I read on another blog about making chicken stock that it is important to "Cool immediately by placing the bowl in an ice filled sink. Never place the hot stock directly in the fridge or you run the risk of rapid bacteria growth which may result in food poisoning." What are your thoughts/experience with this? I put hot soup in the fridge all the time and have never given it a thought. I don't want to do anything to make my family sick, that's for sure. (I am not sure how to put my name on here since I don't have my own blog, but my name is Lisa)

    1. Hi Lisa - I generally allow it to cool a bit before refrigerating. It goes pretty fast if you split it up into smaller containers. But I've certainly had times when I needed to put it in the refrigerator while it was still hot. We've never had a problem with it either. Happy Cooking!


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