I’ve been thinking of some staples that I must have in my pantry or freezer before our new Baby arrives. I really need to “stock up” so that I’m prepared and won’t eat lots of prepared food at a time when I should be eating the best I can!
Chicken stock is one of the most important ingredients I want in the house. Why? Because store-bought chicken stock:
- Contains a bunch of glutamic acid (often known as MSG). This is a dangerous neurotoxin, and I should certainly not be eating it or serving it to my husband or children. However, it’s tough to avoid in store-bought food. In stocks, soups, and sauces, you’ll likely see it listed on the ingredient label as hydrolyzed proteins or natural flavorings (see other hidden sources).
- Is expensive compared to homemade.
- Can’t be customized like my own. At home, I can add more or less salt, various vegetables, or use free-range chicken.
- Can be used to make SOOOO many other things. A good stock is the beginning to many wonderful recipes.
Isn’t it time consuming to make my own chicken stock? Nope! It’s really easy. 🙂
First, I gather some supplies:
- A stock pot
- Some mason jars (or other containers for storing stock in the freezer)
- A strainer and a couple big bowls
Okay, now buy some good-quality chicken, the best you can find or afford. Free-range chicken tends to make the best stock, but if all you can get is grocery store chicken, just check the label to be sure bad ingredients haven’t been added to make your chicken more “flavorful.” You’re looking for plenty of bones, so it’s okay to buy a bag of chicken legs or thighs if that’s cheaper than a whole chicken. (And if you know someone who’ll give you some chicken feet, by all means, accept! They’re stuffed with good gelatin!)
Chicken bones contain gelatin, which is soothing to your digestive track and very good for you!
I’m not fancy in my stock making. This is what I do:
- Throw all the chicken, cut into pieces, into the bottom of my stock pot. (Frozen is okay!)
- Chop a few onions (skin on!) into large pieces and add them to the pot.
- Add a few scrubbed carrots (why peel?), cut into large pieces, to my pot.
- Add lots of water, until my stock pot is at least three-quarters full.
- Add a splash of vinegar (a few tablespoons, but who’s measuring?).
- Let it all sit for an hour (using a timer so I don’t forget about it).
- Bring it all to a boil, skim any really disgusting things from the top with a wooden spoon, then bring to a simmer.
- Simmer all day or all night, whichever fits my schedule best.
- Let it cool enough that I can lift the pot.
- Strain the stock through my strainer, putting the chicken, bones, and vegetables into a bowl. I like to strain my stock into an 8-cup measuring cup so that it’s easy to…
- Pour the stock into mason jars, leaving at least an inch of headroom at the top of each jar. Put lids on the jars.
- Let the jars cool to room temperature on my counter, then transfer to my freezer.
- Take the chicken meat off the bones and save for chicken-salad sandwiches for lunch tomorrow (that’s what my other bowl is for), throw the bones away, and give the cooked veggies to my dog.
- Fill my sink with hot, soapy water and clean everything up. (I wish I had a dishwasher…)
I’m done! Really, it’s very easy! You should try it!