Making your own chicken stock is such an easy process! Unless I’m in a pinch and need to buy prepared stock, I’d much rather save the money and make my own. The process for making chicken stock is really simple, it just requires you to freeze vegetable scraps and chicken bones in gallon size Ziplocs until you’re ready to boil them down. Waste not, want not!
Save Your Scraps
Save all the odds and ends from your cooking throughout the week! Onion remnants, celery ends, pieces of bell pepper, carrot peelings, mushroom stalks, fresh herbs that were about to spoil… there are all kinds of vegetables you can freeze for stock!
Every week, I buy a whole chicken and roast it, then let it cool overnight in the fridge and strip all the meat off before dicing it down and portioning it out. Buying a chicken whole is super cheap and gives you a ton of delicious protein already broken down perfectly for food prep. The bones then get dropped into my freezer bag and saved.
Making Your Stock
When you’re ready to make chicken stock, load a large pot up with your veggie scraps and chicken bones. Add enough water to cover them, pop that bad boy on the stove, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and just leave it be for an hour or two.
The longer your stock simmers, the more intense the flavors will be. I love lots of celery and bell pepper in my stock! I also add bay leaves while it simmers because they add wonderful depth to the flavor. If you want to use greens such as spinach, incorporate them at the end, as they break down really easily. Be cautious using leaves and greens though, as greens from the Brassica family will make your stock bitter.
Seasoning and Such
You can season your stock ahead of time or wait until you’re ready to cook with it. I typically wait on the seasoning, strain the vegetables out, and refrigerate it overnight before I use it. Homemade chicken stock will be slightly gelatinous when it’s chilled, and the fat will rise to the top so you can skim it off.
Homemade stock freezes well and the plainer you leave it, the more flavor options you’ll have for cooking when you’re ready!
This recipe can also be adapted to make vegetable stock (just omit the chicken bones) or beef stock (using beef bones and onion skins, which will darken it down). You can add whatever herbs or seasonings you like, creating a base for all sorts of delicious dishes.
This great post from Jennifer’s Kitchen details exactly what you should and shouldn’t include in your broth, with information on appropriate quantities.
What are your favorite vegetable and herb combinations? Tell me about your best homemade stock! Leave a note in the comments below.