One of the first kitchen staples I learned how to make from scratch when we started eating healthier was chicken stock. It’s based off this recipe from The Nourishing Home. In the past six months or so since I came across this recipe, I’ve made four or five batches of this and have modified it a little from the original. Below is my recipe for chicken stock. I’ll post my recipe for the hub’s favorite chicken and rice in a separate post.
A quick note on some of my modifications: The first two times I made this stock I cut the whole chicken into pieces per the original recipe. The third time I didn’t feel well and cutting the bird up is always a struggle for my lack of upper body strength so I just put the whole thing in and added some extra water to ensure it was covered by a couple inches and it cooked just fine. I also found that doing it this way yielded a couple extra cups of stock without sacrificing the flavor, so I do it that way now. I don’t know if there was any nutritional or functional purpose for cutting the chicken into pieces or if it was just so it didn’t sit so high up in the stock pot.
- 1- 4-5 lb. whole chicken, preferably pastured
- 1 gallon filtered water (or enough to fully cover the chicken by about two inches) + 5 cups
- 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
- 2 leeks, chopped, white and pale green parts
- 6 stalks organic celery, quartered
- 4 medium carrots, quartered
- 3-5 cloves garlic minced (I use a garlic press)
- 6-8 sprigs organic parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme (or 6-8 sprigs fresh)
- 1-2 tbsp. Celtic sea salt (We love this brand)
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper (We buy ours from the bulk section at our local co-op)
- Additional dried herbs (I usually add oregano, rosemary, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder, marjoram)
1. Remove the baggie of giblets from inside your chicken. (I haven’t found a good use for these yet but I’m sure there are some out there.) Place whole chicken in the stock pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil (this will take a while to boil) and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil and reduce heat to simmer gently uncovered for one hour. Ensure chicken is cooked through.
3. Turn off heat and transfer chicken to a platter to cool. I usually throw it in the fridge for five minutes or so to speed the process. Once cool, remove meat and reserve skin and bones. I always shred the meat and store it in containers for chicken and rice, chicken sandwiches, or to put on salads. The chicken will stay for up to five days in the fridge and a month in the freezer.
4. Return chicken skin and bones to the stock pot. Add five cups of water and bring stock back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. I usually add some more dried herbs to the stock at this time (basil, oregano, garlic powder, etc.).
5. Pour contents through a large, fine mesh metal strainer and into a deep bowl. I usually transfer to a large bowl, rinse out the stock pot and then strain the stock back into the stock pot. Press solids to extract flavors and liquids. This is a super important step to boost the flavor and the nutrition content of your stock. It may take a while but it’s a good arm workout and you’ll be able the taste the difference for sure. Discard pressed solids.
6. When you’re done, you’ll have anywhere from 10-15 cups of stock. Mix well and store in containers (I throw mine in mason jars, only filling just over halfway if I’m throwing it in the freezer, 3/4 of the way for the fridge.). If you don’t use the entire container for a dish, be sure to mix it well before measuring out what you need, as the gelatin and nutrients solidify when cold and you’ll want to distribute it back into your stock. Use the stock up within a week if you store it in the fridge, or within three months if you freeze it.
And that’s it. It’s a bit of a long process but it will save you money and boost your nutrition. On a regular schedule, I do this about once every other week now and it makes enough for my husband and I. I use the stock for cooking rice, making risotto, as a base for gravy, and for dishes like chicken and rice. It’s even great to sip on when you feel a cold coming on or have a sore throat.