June 09, 2010

Free Chicken Stock

Ok , well not free but almost. You see now that I'm in my new home, I'm trying to start stocking up and doing better with what I have around here. I read somewhere of a woman who saved all her veggie peelings and such and froze them for when she wanted to make stock.

At first I thought I don't have much of that anyway. But then I thought well she probably didn't either but saved it up by freezing them till she needed it. Duh.....so simple and yet I forget.

And then I read somewhere about another who uses those deli cooked chickens from the grocery store and then takes the leftovers and bones and cooks them down for stock too. BIG DUH~!!! Why didn't I ever think of that?  When I'm done with a roasted chicken, my own or store bought, I would clean off any chicken to make for salad and toss the rest. How wasteful.

But growing up I thought of chicken soup as something homemade with a whole chicken and just never thought beyond that. But now I do. So here is my version of chicken stock that I make now with the leftovers. Then I cool it and strain it. When I freeze it , I put it in smaller containers to use for my every day cooking or to even add more stock to a soup I might make. As Martha says, Its a good thing. And as I say........why the heck didn't I think of this sooner?

Almost Free Chicken Stock

*Saved veggies in a bag in the freezer. I just save up big quart size bags there and toss one or two in. I mostly save onion, celery and carrots but you could save other veggies too and just perhaps separate them in a different bag for a different kind of soup. Onion, celery and carrot is the basis for many things so its a good one to keep.

*Leftover roasted chicken bones, and any leftover meat if your not going to eat it, plus any good juices. It all helps add flavor and I have found roasted chicken makes some amazing stock. Seems to intensify the flavor depending on how much you use.

*Salt and pepper, a couple garlic cloves, fresh parsley.......and if you use fresh parsley alot save the stems in that frozen veggie bag too. I wouldn't add much salt tho because this is stock to be used elsewhere.

*If you don't have much onion saved and frozen, toss a small one in the pot too. BTW onion skins give nice color to stock also so feel free to put some of those in also.

Now toss it all in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Let cook for a couple hrs gently on the back of the stove. Add more water if its cooked down too much. When everything looks really soft and very cooked, turn it off. Let cool and then strain. Freeze in whatever size containers you think you might want. Some small perhaps for stock for rice and such and maybe larger for when you make soups and other kinds of meals where you need more than a cup.

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