How do you make a gallon of homemade, uber flavorful, super rich chicken stock for just pennies? First start with the leftover carcasses of two roasted chickens - skin, bones, pan dripping, the works (neck bones and giblets too, but no livers please).
I used the worlds juiciest oven-roasted chickens ever for this batch, but rotisserie chickens work wonderfully as well. I'll spare you a photo of the carcasses :), but put all the icky bits in a really big stock pot; I like a 12-quart, heavy duty.
Incidentally, you can make this stock with uncooked chicken, it just won't be nearly as colorful, and it won't be quite as flavorful, but hey, it'll still be way better than the canned stuff.
Additionally, you'll need 3 peeled carrots, the leafy top 2 inches of a bunch of celery, 2 jumbo onions, 1 head of garlic (yes a whole head), 15-ish peppercorns (no salt yet), 2 large bay leaves (Turkish please, California bay is way too strong), and a good palm full of dried parsley; like 2 tablespoons (or a bunch of fresh parsley stems if you happen to have them). I'll also add the following if I have them on hand - mushroom stems, a few sun-dried tomatoes, scallion trimmings, parsnips, leek trimmings, etc.
Okay, time to prep the veg - chop the onions into big chunks, leaving the skins on - they add wonderful color. Cut the head of garlic right in half - skin and all. Use the top 2 inches of the celery bunch and the white inside stalks and leaves (lots of yummy flavor there). Peel and trim the carrots and chop into 1-inch piece.
Now throw everybody into the stock pot and cover with water. Crank up the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to barely simmering (if you're making this with raw chicken, you may want to skim the scum off the surface after 15 or 20 minutes). Simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, but you can let it go for as long as 10 or 12 hours; add more water if you need to, but if you're simmering on a low enough heat, and you're using good heavy stock pot, you shouldn't need to. Warning: Your house is going to smell amazing!
Mmmmm... see how the onion skins have turned almost a mahogany color? That color equals tons of flavor. Yum!
Now strain all the bones and veggies out of this rich, nutritious, delicious liquid gold (I spared you the photo of that step - you’re welcome). Now, here’s the most important part - if you’re going to use the stock right away, you must add salt to taste. I find adding 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per quart of unsalted chicken stock is just about perfect. Use within a week or freeze for up to a year. I like to freeze my stock unsalted - it just works out to be more flexible ingredient for me that way. Alrighty, that’s all there is to it - super easy and well worth the small time investment it takes to make.
You can easily cut this recipe in half, but why make a little when you can make a lot. Did I mention it costs mere pennies to make a gallon of this stuff? Literally, this huge batch of stock cost me less than a buck. You can't even think about buying a vastly inferior can of the grocery store stuff for less than a buck, forget about 8 cans. Stock your freezer, and you'll never have to settle for less again! Stay tuned for my quick and easy chicken noodle soup.
Homemade Chicken Stock
makes 16 cups (1 gallon)
leftover skin and bones from 2 roasted chickens (rotisserie chickens work very well)
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
leafy trimmings and inner leaves from a bunch of celery (or two ribs), roughly chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
1 head of garlic, cut in half (no need to peel)
15 whole peppercorns
2-3 large bay leaves
a bunch of fresh parsley stems (or 2-3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes)
optional: mushroom stems, scallion trimmings, leek trimmings, etc.
Place everything in a 12-quart or larger stock pot and cover with cold water.
Bring to a gentle bubble, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for at least 2 hours, but up to 12 if you like (skim and discard any scum that forms on the surface).
Carefully strain all the solids from the stock and cool well before transferring to airtight storage containers (refrigerate for 7 days or freeze up to a year).
Add salt to taste before using (1 teaspoon kosher salt per quart of stock, or half if using table salt).