not look really pretty, but it tastes great and makes a great base for other
Homemade chicken stock is super easy to
make and we like the flavor better than commercial chicken stock. And making the chicken stock yourself allows you
to control the salt, spices, and other things that go into it.
People sometimes wonder what the difference
is between stock and broth. They are very similar in how they are made, but broth uses meat to make the flavored
liquid. Stock may use meat, but also always uses the bones to make the flavored liquid. Stock is slightly thicker
in mouth feel and is richer than broth because there is a natural gelatin in the bones which breaks down and
improves the stock. We sometimes use broth in recipes, but we normally prefer stock since it has more chicken
flavor due to the gelatin from the bones.
Since we don’t like to waste anything, we
will bake a chicken for dinner, then use the carcass and any remaining meat on the bones to make a beautiful
homemade chicken stock. The stock, like broth, can be used for many things, including as a base for soups and as
the liquid for making more flavorful rice or pasta.
If we don’t have time to make stock when we
are done with the chicken, we will sometimes throw the carcass into a large freezer bag and put it in the freezer
until we have time to work with it. Or if it was a small chicken, we will wait until we have two of them before
making the stock to make sure it has a strong enough chicken flavor.
If we are using the chicken stock
immediately, we may include the vegetables in the stock as we are making it. I prefer to wait until we use the
finished chicken stock in a recipe so that the vegetables are fresher and retain some of their color in the final
product. Otherwise they do get very cooked, but many people like the amount of flavor the long cooking of the
vegetables adds to the stock. Likewise, since we sometimes don’t know what we are going to use the chicken stock
for, we will not spice it with anything but a little salt and bay leaves so we can use it for anything. It can be
flavored when adding it to whatever recipe you are making.
Always try to allow cool down time after
making the stock in order to easily remove excess fat from the stock. Fat rises to the top of the stock and when
chilled will solidify. If you put it into the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, you can easily pick the
firm fat from the top. And unlike commercially made chicken stock, the stock is thick and tasty even when the fat
is removed. In fact, when you take it out of the refrigerator, don’t be surprised when the stock is congealed,
almost like jello. That’s the work of the gelatin and when the stock is reheated, it will thin out again. If you
need it thinned further, just add a little water until you get it to the consistency you want.
One of the nicest things about chicken
stock? You can divide it up into freezer bags or containers and keep it in the freezer to use later. Then when you
need it, you have homemade chicken stock available. I have even seen it frozen in ice cube trays first, then the
cubes put into a freezer container so that you can portion it out in even amounts as you need it. Any way you use
it, you will feel great when you are feeding your family since you know only fresh good things went into