If there is one thing that I'm so glad I learned how to do and that is making my own stocks. Filling your home with the mouth watering aromas of homemade stock is simple and oh so healthy!
All you need is a big crock pot, fresh, preferably organic, veggies, and the meat of your choosing. Today's focus will be chicken stock. For me, meat selection is key. I'll be honest by stating up front that I'm a food snob. For my stocks, I will have nothing less than at least a store bought organic free range chicken. In reality, I do know what that actually means and it's not all that great. My first and usually only choice, is our own home-grown chicken that is truly raised on fresh grass and allowed to eat a natural diet along with organic grains. Plenty of fresh air and sunshine. I firmly believe, that this makes for the very BEST meat. So full of flavor and not like the bland chicken you get in the store. Ok, rant over. Don't get me wrong, use what you have and can afford. I'm all about that. But since we have the means and resources to raise our own, we will.
So let's get to it.
I like to use the backs from a whole chicken, but you can also use the feet, neck and any other parts you might not enjoy eating. I will also use the carcass after baking a whole chicken and removing the meat. Just don't pick it too clean. Place your chicken in the crockpot.
Grab three or four carrots, an onion or two, several celery stalks and leave the leaves on the stalks. depending on the time of year, I may add lots of garlic cloves and ginger root for the cold/flu season. Add this to the chicken in the pot.
Fill with water until about an inch from the top and then cover. Turn on high and get the stock heated up. When it gets to cooking stage in a few hours, turn the pot to low. Now this next part is another key part to the process. You are now going to let that pot simmer for 24 hours or so. You read it correctly. Let that baby simmer a long time!
Here's s the deal. By allowing the stock to stew for a long time causes all the nutrients in the bones to release into the water. When this is done, the chicken bones will almost dissolve in your hand. You can easily Amish the with your fingers. This is how you know you have something really good there.
After the time is completed, strain your stock into containers and freeze. It's up to you what to do with what's left over. I have made soup with the veggies, but there is really nothing left of the or the chicken. They don't have any flavor left and will be mushy, but it's fine to eat. All that good stuff is now in your stock.
100% natural. No artificial flavors or colors. And you made it. How about that! Use this stock in place of that store bought stuff. You'll never go back.
Ps. I did once in a pinch buy some and it was hideous. I'm so use to my yummy homemade stock that what I bought was over salty and tasteless. FYI. It's with it. And it's easy.