If I had to choose one thing to say “I'm so glad I learned how to do that!” it would be making my own stocks. Filling your home with the mouth watering aroma of homemade stock is simple and oh so healthy!
All you need is…
A big crock pot
Fresh, preferably organic, veggies
Meat of your choosing
Today's Focus is Chicken Stock
If you ask 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, (Although, 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 for our chickens! I firmly believe this makes for the very BEST meat. So full of flavor and not like the bland chicken you get in the store.
Okay, 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 do.
So, let's get to it.
Making Chicken Stock
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. Sometimes I use the carcass after baking a whole chicken and removing the meat. Just don't pick it too clean.
1) Place your chicken in the crock pot.
Grab three or four carrots, an onion or two, and 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.
2) 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.
3) Fill pot with water, and set crock pot to “high.”
When it gets to cooking stage in a few hours, turn the pot to “low.” Now this next part is key to the process. Let that pot simmer for 24 hours or so. You read it correctly. Let that baby simmer a long time!
4) After about three hours, set crock pot to “low” and let simmer for 24 hours.
Here's s the deal: Allowing the stock to stew for a long time causes all the nutrients in the bones to release into the water. When this happens, the chicken bones will almost dissolve in your hand. You can easily mash them with your fingers. This is how you know you have something really good in the works.
After the cooking 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 them 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.
5) Cool slightly, strain into containers, and freeze.
No artificial flavors or colors.
And you made it! How about that?!
Use this stock in place of the store-bought stuff — you'll never go back.
PS: I did (once, when I was in a pinch) buy some from the store after making my own for a few years and it was hideous. I'm so use to my yummy, homemade stock that I realized the store-bought stuff is over-salty and tasteless.
Let Me Know If You Try It!
I’d love to know if you make your own stock, be it chicken or something else. Leave a comment, or hop over to our Facebook page and start a conversation.
And, for the record: Making your own stock is worth it! And it's easy.