It is everyone’s favorite time of year again: cold and flu season. Upper respiratory viruses are in full swing every where these days. After narrowly avoiding acquiring the flu from Aj’s family after Christmas, I did finally succumb to some sort of respiratory virus shortly thereafter. And what is the best thing when you’re sick? Homemade chicken noodle soup. So I drug myself up to the store and got the few things I needed, including a rotisserie chicken and chicken broth. As I was making the soup, I decided it would be a good idea to make my own chicken stock from the leftover rotisserie chicken, so that next time I want to make soup, I can use my own homemade stock instead of store-bought broth. Also, it gave me another reason to use my pretty new dutch oven that I got for Christmas from my parents 🙂 She’s a beautiful yellow Le Creuset Dutch Oven, she matches all my other yellow Le Creuset items in my kitchen, and I love her.
I had a general idea about how to make chicken stock or broth, so I just sort of went ahead without any sort of recipe. During this endeavor, I learned the difference between stock and broth. It turns out that when you use the chicken bones as well as left over meat, you end up with stock; but if you use just leftover meat, you end up with broth. I think it’s pretty well known that stock is richer than broth, that is apparently because the bones release gelatin when they simmer, giving a more full flavor and feel. It also turns out that making your own broth or stock is incredibly easy.
Essentially,all I needed to do, was combine the left overs from what I used to make my soup into a stock pot (or in my case, dutch oven) and simmer them for a few hours. The fun thing about making stock and broth is you can use whatever you want, any vegetables or herbs you have around, and experiment with flavor. Here’s what I used to make a traditional chicken stock:
As you can see, I used the leftover bones as well as meat scraps so it turns out I made chicken stock. The jars are parsley and celery salt. Even though I have real celery, I added the celery salt anyway, because why not?
Put all your ingredients in your pot, and add some salt and pepper. You may notice those garlic cloves weren’t in my ingredient list, they were a last minute addition.
Add water until it is just above your ingredients.
It even looks good just like this! Almost makes my mouth water looking at it.
Bring to a boil.
Then immediately turn down the heat to keep it at a simmer for about 4 hours.
The longer you simmer, the more concentrated your stock will be. I actually ended up simmering mine for about 5 hours and was only left with about 16 ounces, next time I’d probably only go for 4 hours.
When you are done simmering, turn off the heat, and remove the chunks of vegetables and chicken with a slotted spoon. Then pour through a strainer or some cheesecloth (to have a more pure liquid) into heat proof containers or jars.
From here you can store your stock in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze it for months. If you are going to freeze it, make sure you leave room (an inch or so) in the jar so that it doesn’t blow up in your freezer when the liquid expands.
Now next time I go to make soup, which won’t be long because its soup season :), I can use my own delicious stock and it really will be homemade soup!
Like I said, I ended up simmering mine a bit too long and was left with less than I wanted, to make matters worse, I ended up spilling half of a jar all over the floor. I decided to divide what I had left into two jars and dilute with water so I had two full jars or 24 ounces.
- The bones and leftover meat from a whole chicken
- ~3 carrots
- ~4 celery stalks, including the tops
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 T parsley leaves
- ¼ t celery salt
- Chop the carrot and the celery stalks into large pieces
- Cut the onion into quarters
- Crush the garlic cloves
- Combine the left over chicken bones and meat in a large stock pot or dutch oven with the above ingredients, add salt, pepper, and parsley leaves
- Add water to the pot until just above your ingredients
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to to a simmer, simmer for 4 hours
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken, bones, and pieces of vegetables, pour the remaining liquid through a strainer into heat proof jars.
- Allow the jars to cool, then store in the fridge for a week or freeze for months.