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One of my favorite items to buy at Costco is their rotisserie chicken. I use most of the meat to make dinner for my family of 6, and then I use the leftovers to make a nice, homemade chicken stock to use later in the week.
Making broth and stock is a very simple thing that our grandparents and great grandparents used to do all the time. Back when wasting food was not an option, they used the bones, cartilage, skin, and other parts of the bird, that we promptly discard, to put nourishing soups and hearty meals on the table for pennies on the dollar.
Somewhere along the way, in these convenience food years, we’ve lost our knowledge of where real food comes from and how easy (and often inexpensive) it can be to prepare. Instead of using what we have to create a delicious dinner we pop open a can full of sodium and additives.
I want to show you how easy making your own broth or stock can be!
To start with, grab a rotisserie chicken or throw a bird in your slow cooker. You can use a whole chicken, a turkey breast, etc. just use whatever you’ve got on hand. If you want to make broth, you can omit the bones and just use some leftover dark meat. This time I used a turkey breast so if you are wondering why the stock is a little dark, that is why.
- Put your poultry carcass (lovely word) in a large stock pot.
- Gather the rest of your ingredients.
The rad thing about homemade broth and stock is that you can really use whatever you have on hand. Onions, the leftover tops and bottoms of celery, garlic cloves, herbs, peppercorns (I use about 10), carrots and even carrot tops, like I said, whatever you’ve got. I’m sure some chef out there will balk at me saying that, but this is home cooking like granny did, not dinner at the Ritz, so really anything goes. (Sorry Chef-ster, this probably ain’t your kind of blog.) I tend to wait on adding salt until I’m using my stock for a recipe, but you can really do whatever floats your boat.Just a note: before I had chickens I used to save my veggie scraps in a baggie in my freezer to use for making stocks and broths. Now my ladies get those scraps, but just file that away that you can totally save those carrot peelings and left over celery for another day.
- Wash, then roughly chop up any large pieces of vegetables and put them, herbs, and spices in the pot with the bones. Cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. I know that seems like a big deal, but this isn’t something you need to watch or constantly stir! Just let it simmer while you catch up on the latest episodes of Fixer Upper, pay your bills, help kids with homework, or scroll through Instagram.
If you look in the pot and you are running low on fluid, just add some more hot water and turn the heat down a little bit more. You don’t need a rolling boil, just a simmer.
- After you have let it cook down, turn the heat off and let it cool a little. Then strain the stock and discard the solids.
At this point you can use it for a lovely soup, put it in the fridge for later in the week, or store in a freezer container in the freezer for future use.
So simple and easy!
My kid’s love homemade chicken soup using this stock.
When I’m ready to make it, I just dump the stock into a pot, pull out some leftover chicken from the fridge or freezer, chop up fresh veggies, add some herbs & spices to taste, and then let the kids decide if they want potatoes, noodles, or rice. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are tender, and enjoy the taste of real food.
I know this isn’t your average recipe post, but what I want you to see here is that some things don’t need to be complicated. You can look in your fridge and pantry, see what you’ve got, and then put together a delicious, nourishing meal without using 500 ingredients you had to buy at the specialty store. I know it takes a little planning ahead, but in a Saturday afternoon you can freeze enough basic stock/broth to be used in a multitude of meals down the road.
Your Great Grandma would be proud.
Have you every tried making your own stock or broth?
What are your favorite ingredients to add?