No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

Who else has been thinking that homemade chicken stock is just too big a production? Not me, not anymore. For a long while now, I've been making chicken stock one small batch at a time because, well, making stock should be No Big Deal. Until you taste it, that is – rich but delicate, thick as jelly, tasting like the real chicken it’s made with – that’s when you know for sure that homemade chicken stock is One Very Big Deal.

My favorite pot for No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

So really, am I alone? Who else keeps a big stockpot in a cupboard in the kitchen? Who else KNOWS how to make a big batch of chicken stock but just doesn’t get around to it?

These days, in my kitchen, the big stockpot stays put even as I make a small batch of chicken stock (or beef stock or vegetable stock) nearly every day, no effort, no big production. It is, frankly, No Big Deal – except that an abundance of rich, flavorful chicken stock on hand for soups, sauces and stews is One Very Big Deal.

Two things make all the difference.

THE RIGHT POT, SMALL & HEAVY This is my most-used Christmas present ever! It’s a heavy LeCreuset saucepan. It doesn’t need a home in a cupboard because it never leaves the stove! Now this pot isn’t a “stockpot” per se but it’s just the right size for a chicken carcass and the right weight to hold even heat. This means I can set the stove just below medium and walk away, confident the stock will soon be gently simmering away with minimal evaporation. A couple of hours later? Gorgeous stock.

FYI LeCreuset no longer makes my beloved 2.5 quart saucepan but this 2.75 quart saucepan is a close match. Do know, these are heavy pots, mine weighs more than 7 pounds. They’re pricey too, so look for one in your cupboard that will work, move it to the stovetop for a trial run.

MASON JARS When I make a big batch of stock in the stockpot, I feel compelled to carefully strain the stock to transfer in two-cup portions to labeled freezer bags. It takes a good 20 to 30 minutes. With a small batch of No-Big-Deal Chicken Stock, I strain the stock right into quart-size canning jars, then store in the fridge. So easy! It takes just a minute or two. And no, it doesn’t last as long as frozen stock but that’s okay, I go through it fast.

FYI I love these one-piece canning lids for mason jars, no more fiddling around with lids and ring except for their intended purpose, real canning.

NO-BIG-DEAL BEEF STOCK Any time there’s leftover bits of beef or beef bones, just drop them into the saucepan with an onion, a carrot and a rib of celery. Follow the same process. Beef has a lot more fat, you’ll want to discard the thick layer that accumulates on top of the stock – or feed it to the birds!

NO-BIG-DEAL VEGETABLE STOCK Coming soon to A Veggie Venture!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

NO-BIG-DEAL CHICKEN STOCK RECIPE

Hands-on time: 5 minutes to start, 5 minutes to finish
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 1 rotisserie chicken carcass (wings, bones, skin, back plus juices from the container)
  • Water to cover

Place carcass in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer, let gently simmer for about 2 hours.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Place a small wire-mesh strainer into a funnel, place the funnel in a quart-size canning jar. Pour the stock through the strainer-funnel combination. Discard the bones and solids.

Refrigerate the stock. A thin layer of chicken fat will form on the top, discard this if you like. Use within a week.

ALANNA's TIPS A rotisserie chicken is one of my go-to Lean & Green meals for Medifast. (See Why I Switched from Weight Watchers to Medifast, as of yesterday, I'm down 27 pounds!) I keep the saucepan handy while cutting up and weighing the chicken for dinner, it’s easy to drop in any parts not being eaten. A rotisserie chicken makes excellent stock, all by itself. But I also use raw chicken with the same No-Big-Deal process. To use raw chicken pieces not being used for dinner, you may want to add a little chopped onion, carrot and celery to the saucepan. Learn your pot and your stove so that you can set the temperature once and then leave the stock be, without attention. Two hours isn’t necessary, some times I let the stock simmer for 3 hours, other times only an hour. Once I accidentally left the house; some hours later, the water had indeed mostly evaporated, leaving a luscious concentrated stock. I recommend this, just not without careful monitoring! While mostly I just refrigerate this stock, I do also occasionally freeze it right in a canning jar, it works fine. Just don’t fill the jar completely, leave room for the stock to expand while it freezes. I leave the thin layer of chicken fat that collects on top until it’s time to use the stock. The fat seems to extend the freshness in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. If you don’t have time to make stock right away, freeze the carcass or chicken pieces until there’s time.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 86 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 7mg Cholesterol; 343mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 0g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2, WW PointsPlus 2 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 1cup+3T; 50-calorie serving, 9T. FYI I question this information which is based on the data for home-prepared chicken stock from the USDA. It’s not the calories I question so much as the fat and sodium. Still, I have no other way to calculate the information to share what there is. I do know that the stock tastes rich (so calories/fat may be okay) but it is does not taste salty at all.

No-Big-Deal Chicken Stock


No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

So no more of that watery, salty stuff from cans and cubes, boxes and powders, okay? Choose Homemade Chicken Stock, because really, it’s just No-Big-Deal to make.


This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Chicken Cacciatore (<< personal favorite) Greek Feta Chicken Mushroom Soup Pork & Poblano Skillet Gashouse Eggs My Mom's Pancake Recipe Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Sugar-Free Raspberry Bliss Orange-Kissed Marshmallows

This Week, Elsewhere

Porter Meatloaf from Six Row Brewing Company
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Use Homemade Chicken Stock In These Recipes, Kick It Up a Few Notches

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Broccoli Soup Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (Turkey & Wild Rice Soup) White Chicken Chili
~ more soup recipes ~





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Did you have your remote camera in my kitchen on today??

On a whim this morning, while the kids (on winter break) were cleaning out the fridge, I decided to make chicken stock. No biggie, just grabbed a Soup Pack out of the freezer where I'd been stashing onion skins and carrot and celery trims I didn't feed to the guinea pigs, and grabbed the chicken carcass I'd frozen since I was heading out of town soon after roasting and wouldn't get around to making stock before we left.
I left it to simmer for nearly 4 hours and this stuff is just golden jelly. I have to say, though, that I used my 7 qt pretty purple pot, which lives on top of the fridge next to the stand mixer. Apparently I like to live dangerously with respect to heavy objects stored above my head.

It's funny you mention the extra layer of fat on top of the mason jar keeping your stock fresher longer. My 1950 Betty Crocker says the same thing!

Way to go on hitting 27 pounds--that's terrific!
 
Stock is easy to make but requires a good chunk of time in or near the kitchen so I regularly make stock in the pressure cooker on weekends & freeze to have on hand. I 'collect' wing tips, necks, backs, skin, bones, etc in a large plastic bag in a corner of the freezer. It's so tempting to use canned or cubes when we are exhausted at the end of a long day or extra busy.


wilkwise///at\\\gmail///dot\\\com
 
I have been "boiling bones" for years! There is no comparison between homemade stock and purchased. Thanks for the tip about the one piece lids---love it!
 
I have started making bone broth regularly this winter, too, and it is so easy I am wondering how ib the world I ever thought it was a hassle before! Simply giving myself permission to make it without veg has been the key, and it is still delicious. A couple of differences between my method and yours- I throw ghe carcass into my 6 qt slow cooker, don't quite cover with cold water, add a tsp of salt, 3 or 4 peppercorns, and 3 T of apple cider vinegar. I have been told that the acid is key to pulling the minerals from the bones. I leave it all at a bare simmer (just the occasional bubble on the sides) for 24 hrs. Once it cools a bit i fish out the big bits with my hands and then strain and jar just as you do. The bones are fun because they easily crumble in your hand. It smells a little different than regular stock, but tastes great and I feel that I have squeezed every bit of nutrition from that chicken that I could.
 
Yes! Exactly what I do. The broth is very good, and easy as you say. But. I use it to poach frozen Korean dumplings and the flavors added to the LO broth gets even better. Once I never used the batch for anything else! If I have some left when we are leaving, I just stick in freezer.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna