Homemade Chicken Stock is a useful ingredient to have stored in your fridge and freezer. Use it to pump up the flavour in a variety of dishes.
When my children were babies, I learned how to make chicken stock so that I could make meals that were free from salt and additives. Because it is so easy, I still make batches regularly.
I use it in many of my recipes, and over the years I have received several messages asking for a recipe. So, finally here we have it – easy and flavourful chicken stock.
WHAT IS CHICKEN STOCK & WHY MAKE YOUR OWN
Chicken stock is a liquid made with chicken bones, meat, vegetables and water. It is cooked slowly for a number of hours and is used as a basis for a tasty soup or as the liquid component in dishes such as stews, curries, sauces and risotto
Making your own
- allows you to control ingredients to suit your family’s age/stage and dietary requirements.
- makes good use of a carcass and leftover scraps from your roast chicken as well as vegetable scraps which would otherwise be discarded.
- It saves you buying boxed and cubed stock.
CHICKEN STOCK INGREDIENTS
Personally, I prefer to make homemade chicken stock with a carcass and the leftover scraps from a roast chicken. This produces a rich full flavour nutritious stock.
You can make stock from a raw chicken, it will be tasty and nutritious but I feel the roasted carcass and scraps seem to deepen the richness.
You can also make stock with chicken pieces such as legs, thighs and wings.
- Vegetables & Herbs
Vegetables and herbs add to the flavour and nutrition of the stock. It is a great way to use up vegetable scraps or vegetables that are coming to the end of their life. I usually use…
- Carrots (including the peel and ends)
- Onions ( including the skin)
- Celery ( including the leaves)
- Leek (green and white parts)
GREASY / GELATINOUS CHICKEN STOCK
Homemade chicken stock can appear greasy but the fat contained in the stock provides great flavour and enriches soups, gravy and sauces.
If you wish to remove some of the fat, cool the stock quickly and it will be easy to remove from the surface before use.
When you simmer a chicken carcass for long enough, you extract the collagen from the bones. This collagen in the bones is what causes the cooled down stock to gel. It is completely natural and will only happen in well-made stock. Once you reheat it, it will melt and return to a liquid.
IS HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK GOOD FOR YOU?
All the goodness from the long slow cooking of bones, meat and vegetables makes for a nutritious ingredient in your cooking.
Because you are making the stock yourself you can control the sodium content which is essential when cooking for babies.
HOW TO STORE CHICKEN STOCK
Cool the stock and transfer it to airtight containers. Refrigerate immediately and keep for up to 4 days.
Cool then transfer to airtight, freezable containers. The stock will last for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Once thawed you can not refreeze, it is, therefore, a good idea to freeze in small amounts. This way you can just take what you need from the freezer.
If cooking for a baby it is a good idea to freeze in ice cube trays or small baby food containers (pictured below). You only need small amounts so doing this allows for very little wastage. Once frozen in the ice-cube trays, transfer to a freezable container/ziplock bag.
If cooking for a family, you may wish to freeze in larger amounts. Around 500ml (2 cups) is a useful amount to freeze per container.
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- 1 Large Chicken Carcass *SEE NOTE 1
- 1 Large Onion (no need to peel), quartered *SEE NOTE 2
- 1 Leek, cut into large chunks
- 2 Celery Stalks & celery leaves
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Small Bunch Parsley
- Water to cover (I used 3 litres)
- Place leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot. *SEE NOTE 3
- Add vegetables and parsley and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to a low simmer.
- Simmer, partially covered, for at least 4 hours. For a clearer stock, skim off any foam that comes to the surface.
- Strain the stock to separate out the solid pieces. Discard the solids. (I use a colander to do this and then strain it again through a sieve.)
- Season to taste (*SEE NOTE 4)
- Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer. (See above post for storage guidelines.)
- Use one large chicken carcass or two smaller ones left over from roast chickens. You can also use chicken pieces, such as legs, thighs, wings and feet.
- Stock is great for using up vegetables that are coming to the end of their life or vegetable scraps (e.g carrot tops, peelings etc) The above vegetable measurements are a guide only.
- You will need a large stock pot (at least 5 litres /9 imperial pints/ 10.5 US Pints in size)
- Remember Chicken Stock is an ingredient, not a finished product. It should have a chicken taste but shouldn't be overpowering. It is not a soup. A little seasoning can bring out flavour. Do not season if using to make baby food.